Paula Favino of Warwick, R.I., a Correctional Officer at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections’ Gloria McDonald Women’s Awaiting Trial and Medium Security Facility is grateful to the RIDOC’s Training Academy for providing her with the skills she recently employed to save her son’s life. Paula was home having dinner with Jarred, age seven, when she noticed him choking on a piece of meat. Paula didn’t know if she should dial 911 first or administer the Heimlich Maneuver, which she had just reviewed at a refresher class at the Academy the preceding week. Since Jarred was “turning all kinds of colors,” Paula decided she couldn’t wait and administered the maneuver. As trained, she took up position, formed a fist, and found her son’s sternum. After two pulls, the meat projected from Jarred’s throat, and within minutes, he was fine, though shaken.
Paula was so appreciative for the training she felt compelled to call Training Academy Instructor John Lavery to tell him what had happened and express her gratitude. John says her call was “the best news I’ve had all year by far.” He describes the experience as “the most you can hope for as a training instructor.” All RIDOC Correctional Officers are required to be recertified in CPR every two years.
Interestingly, this wasn’t the first time Paula had occasion to use the maneuver on her only child. When he was about four, he also had a choking incident and she was able to utilize her training to get the piece of food to dislodge.
“I credit the Academy for everything,” Paula notes.