US Senator Rand Paul Performs Heimlich on Senator Joni Ernst

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A US senator rushed to the rescue on Thursday to help a colleague who was choking on her lunch.

Rand Paul of Kentucky performed the Heimlich manoeuvre on fellow Republican Joni Ernst of Iowa.

She posted on social media afterwards: “Can’t help but choke on the woke policies Dems are forcing down our throats. Thanks, Dr. @RandPaul!”

Mr Paul carried out the life-saving move as Mrs Ernst held a lunch for her Republican colleagues.

The weekly tradition usually sees foods from the hosting senator’s home state on the menu.

Photos posted on X, formerly Twitter, showed beef sandwiches, creamed corn, coleslaw, and “big pork chops”, in the words of Senator John Thune.

It was not immediately clear what food item had obstructed Mrs Ernst’s airway, but colleagues praised Mr Paul, an eye doctor, for his quick action.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican who has occasionally clashed with the outspoken Kentuckian, said: “God bless Rand Paul. I never thought I’d say that.”

Not everyone witnessed the incident.

Two senators stood up to explain what had happened and reminded those present of the importance of learning the life-saving manoeuvre.

“We talked about how you can get Heimlich training here,” Senator Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming said, “and other people talked about incidents that they’ve been involved in where someone required the Heimlich.”

Mrs Ernst was not the first lawmaker to require such an intervention while dining with fellow lawmakers.

In 2018, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia performed the Heimlich on a colleague, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, but cracked her rib in the process.

Who has the Heimlich manoeuvre saved?

Since the technique was introduced in 1974 it is believed to have saved the lives of more than 100,000 people in the US alone.

They include former President Ronald Reagan, pop star Cher, former New York mayor Edward Koch and Hollywood actors Elizabeth Taylor, Goldie Hawn, Walter Matthau, Carrie Fisher, Jack Lemmon and Marlene Dietrich.

In 2014 actor Clint Eastwood was credited with saving the life of a golf tournament director in California who was choking on a piece of cheese.

The Heimlich is performed by putting your arms around the abdomen of the person who is choking, making a fist with one hand and clasping the other around it. It involves sharply and quickly thrusting your hands inward and upward five times, to be repeated until the object is dislodged.

Source: BBC