It was a typical Friday for Noah Patton, job coaching a fellow MDI employee at a Grand Rapids restaurant, until he saw an elderly woman choking in a nearby booth.

“I turned around and saw the woman hunched over struggling to breathe. As somebody said ‘she’s choking’ her head started to slowly fall as she stopped trying to cough.” Patton recalled.  “I just ran over and performed the Heimlich and hoped for the best.”

Patton’s Heimlich was successful, and the woman spit up the trouble-making hotdog.

Patton credited the MDI CPR training he had received just a few short days prior, where he learned vital first-aid skills alongside other colleagues.  The skills learned at that training prepared him to perform the Heimlich rescue procedure, which involves using both arms to apply firm pressure to the abdomen of the person choking.

“It’s not every day a person can walk out of their work environment knowing you saved a life,” Patton said.

Patton said about every couple years he goes through refresher training on things like the Heimlich, but this month was the first time he ever used it besides training.

“The most integral part of training was knowing how to react. Being educated on how to respond to life-threatening incidents makes it easier to react and respond.” Patton continues. “It just came second nature to me!”