Rescue at Chez Leon
Watch a YouTube video demonstration on how to perform adult CPR
The Chateaubriand steak Chez Leon offered to celebrate Valentine’s Day left one retired Fermilab employee temporarily breathless.
Don Carpenter choked during his meal, terrifying his wife but inspiring many current and retired Fermilab employees to brush up on their first aid skills.
Several diners, including the night’s heroes, and the entire Chez Leon staff plan to take refresher courses in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.
Carpenter thinks that’s a great idea, and he’s thankful Fermilab employees were conscientious enough to have learned CPR in the past.
“I was lucky that someone was there who jumped to the rescue,” said Carpenter, who used to work in the fixed target area.
An average of about 4,000 people choked to death each year in the United States between 1999 and 2005, according to the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control.
Carpenter was part way through his meal when he slowly turned blue and slumped over in his seat. Lauri Loebel Carpenter, who works in Fermilab’s Computing Division, asked her husband what was wrong, but he did not seem to hear her before he lost consciousness, she said.
“It didn’t look like choking,” she said. “It looked like a stroke.”
Rob Kutschke, of the Computing Division, and Al Thomas, a retired Fermilab employee, jumped up to help, pushing a few breaths into Carpenter’s lungs before freeing the beef.
“It felt like forever, but it was probably just a couple of minutes,” Loebel Carpenter said.
Carpenter was taken to the hospital and pronounced recovered. The nurses credited the quick response and knowing when to stop CPR with saving Carpenter.
Administering CPR at the wrong time, for too long or with too much force can cause injuries.
“Al was very gentle and stopped as soon as he was breathing again,” Loebel Carpenter said.
Learn how to do the Heimlich maneuver here.
Fermilab offers a three-hour CPR and defibrillator-use training course two or three times a month. The training certifies participants for two years and costs $35. Click here to enroll. You can also sign up for first aid classes through the American Red Cross or your local hospital.
-- Kathryn Grim