Plymouth County

2 South Shore educators save the lives of choking students in separate incidents

Two South Shore educators saved the lives of choking students in separate incidents this month.

Manomet Elementary School physical education teacher Billy Brunstrom quickly put his first aid training to work when he noticed a student struggling to breathe during dismissal last week, according to a Plymouth Public Schools Facebook post.

Today, we'd like to recognize a PPS staff member who quickly put his first aid training to work when noticing a student...

Posted by Plymouth Public Schools on Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Brunstrom noticed a student giving the universal choking sign. He quickly pulled the student aside and administered the Heimlich maneuver, which successfully cleared the child’s airway.

Brunstrom’s colleagues threw him a celebration Tuesday to praise him for his swift actions.

Last week, Middleboro Public School administrators recognized Elizabeth Gunnison for saving the life of a kindergartener who was choking.

Press Release-> Memorial Early Childhood Center Teacher Saves Kindergarten Student’s Life by Performing Heimlich...

Posted by Middleborough Public Schools on Thursday, January 21, 2021

Gunnison provides daily support to the kindergarten students at Memorial Early Childhood Center.

On January 7, she was on lunch duty when she said a child looked at her and appeared to be in distress.

“I immediately asked the student a question and did not get an answer,” Gunnison said. “I asked again with no response. At that point I knew the student was choking.”

Gunnison immediately approached the student, performed the Heimlich maneuver and dislodged a cracker which had become lodged in the child’s throat.

“We are so fortunate to have Mrs. Gunnison working here at our school,” Memorial Early Childhood Center principal Jeremy Gobeil said. “Her professionalism, humility and level-headedness are truly commendable and I thank her for what she did on that day and every day for our school”

Superintendent Brian Lynch was among the administrators who presented Gunnison with a Certificate of Recognition and flowers.

“There’s certainly a reason why all staff are trained in this process by our highly qualified school nurses, but you never know how people will react when the time actually comes to put this training to use,” Lynch said. “As a school community, we are very fortunate to have educators such as Mrs. Gunnison teaching, caring for and keeping a watchful eye on our young ones every day in our schools. We are eternally grateful for her heroism.”

Plymouth Public Schools said medical emergency response planning in schools has always been a priority.

“For many years, our nursing staff perform CPR and tourniquet training for students and staff,” the district said. “Although we hope our staff is never in a situation such as this one, we are always grateful for their immediate response and constant care for students.”

Manomet Elementary School nurse Luanne Nemes also praised the student for using the universal sign of choking while in distress.

“A conscious person who is clutching the throat is showing what is commonly called the universal sign of choking,” according to the American Red Cross.

Plymouth Public Schools directed people to the American Heart Association for CPR resources and training programs available.