Rose uses emergency skills to save John

Quick-thinking Bernicia location co-ordinator Rose Martin leapt into action and used her life saving skills to help a tenant choking while eating at a retirement living property.

John Hedley, 81, stopped breathing after food became lodged in his throat.

Despite the efforts of his grand-daughter Rebecca to remove the blockage by slapping his back, it wouldn’t dislodge and John was frantically struggling to breathe.

Rose – part of the Bernicia team who supervise the popular Willow Vale property in Bedlington – ran into the communal area to find former pit worker John unable to draw breath.

She grabbed him and used her emergency skills training learned at Bernicia to perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre on him, placing her fists under his rib cage and driving upwards several times until the blockage was freed and John could breathe again.

Rebecca delivered a bouquet from her family to Rose at Willow Vale as a thank you for saving their beloved dad and grandad.

“A tenant ran through to the foyer to say that John was choking and needed help,” said Rose.

“I ran into our communal area and found his grand-daughter was slapping his back and I tried to hit the middle of his back, people were shouting and panicking and it wasn’t working.

“I then grabbed him round the middle and did the abdominal thrusts four or five times, but it was lodged in his throat and he wasn’t breathing.

“I did it again and thankfully it came out and John was breathing again. I checked that he was okay, I felt terrible that I might have hurt his ribs and back.

“We could have lost him and it was such a relief to see John okay.” Rose learned the Heimlich Manoeuvre as part of emergency life saving training for retirement scheme staff, provided by Bernicia.

John, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, paid tribute to Rose.

“She did well, she saved my life I’m sure of that,” he said.

“I’d been out in the morning for my Covid jab and came back in the afternoon to have a bacon sandwich they had left for me.

“It got stuck in my throat. I wasn’t breathing and I was trying to cough it up. I was panicking, I was pleased Rose was there.”

Paul White, Bernicia head of retirement living, said: “By taking such decisive action, Rose has undoubtedly saved John’s life.

“It highlights the invaluable service we offer of having trained colleagues on site to support our tenants whenever they need us.”

Rose and John are pictured together at Willow Vale.