Life on the line: The lifesaving Heimlich maneuver - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Life on the line: The lifesaving Heimlich maneuver

Kama Kinimaka-Stocksdale Kama Kinimaka-Stocksdale
O's Goknur O's Goknur
Lisa Kubota Lisa Kubota

By Tannya Joaquin - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - All it takes is for something to go down the wrong pipe and you can choke. Here's a look at what you can do when a life is on the line.

Mac 24-7 is known for monster portions. All managers are required to learn the Heimlich Maneuver just in case a customer chokes.

Overnight manager Kama Kinimaka-Stocksdale saved a choking customer.

"It can happen anywhere" says Kinimaka-Stocksdale.

"It really can. We are known for our big portions. That didn't have anything to do with it."

During dinner, back in December, he noticed a customer choking across the restaurant. He walked us through what happened next.

"I saw she was in trouble. I ran over there and asked if she needed help. She said yes."

He then placed his fist and hand in the proper place to administer the Heimlich.

"When she breathed in, I did three or four thrusts and that cleared her air passage."

Lucky for her, he knew the right thing to do. About 4,600 people choke to death nationwide every year despite the introduction of Dr. Henry Heimlich's breakthrough maneuver in 1974. The Heimlich is credited with saving the lives of the late President Ronald Reagan, actress Elizabeth Taylor and entertainer Cher.

It even saved the life of Sunrise News Anchor Lisa Kubota.

"When I was about eight or nine, I choked on tako poke. A piece went down the wrong pipe. I couldn't breathe, I panicked. Luckily my dad did the Heimlich maneuver, and it came right out."

It happens more often than you may think according to instructor O's Goknur. "Just goes down the wrong pipe and you have to get to it right away" says Goknur.

He showed me how to do the Heimlich.

"Place your fist above his belly button. Go ahead and turn your first in. Take the other hand and support the fist.  As you do your upward thrust, make sure you're not going to harm the ribs on the side."

The technique for choking babies is different. You support the baby face down on your arm.

"As long as the baby is slightly tilted forward, the gravity is going to help with removing the object" explains Goknur.

From this position, you give the infant five back slaps. If that doesn't dislodge the object, turn the baby over, place fingers in center of chest and give him five chest thrusts.

If you can't get the obstruction out, CPR may be necessary. Emergency training covers both procedures so you'd know what to do if someone's life is on the line.

Lisa Kubota is thankful her dad knew what to do. She sums up the experience this way:

"If he hadn't been there and didn't know what to do, who knows what could have happened?"   

O's Goknur schedules private first aid certification courses on demand at his Bishop Street office. The cost is between $65 to $75 dollars.

For more information, visit or call 548-7711

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