NEWS

Park School TAs recognized for lifesaving response to choking student

By ALEX MALM
Posted 1/12/22

For 20 years Kathy Cookson, a teacher assistant at Park Elementary School has been trained in first aid.

For 20 years she never had to use her training. 

That all changed Oct. …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in
NEWS

Park School TAs recognized for lifesaving response to choking student

Posted

For 20 years Kathy Cookson, a teacher assistant at Park Elementary School has been trained in first aid.

For 20 years she never had to use her training. 

That all changed Oct. 12.

Cookson was on lunch duty with another teacher assistant  Charlene Ricci. It was a routine day in the lunchroom until Ricci noticed one student wasn’t feeling well. She asked the fifth grader if he was all right but he shook his no. 

Ricci asked if he was choking and he motioned to say yes. 

That’s when the training that Cookson received years ago kicked in. She asked the student to stand up and Cookson did the Heimlich on him, which yielded a piece of chicken to come out. 

Cookson recalls the student being able to talk a little but then he wasn’t able to. She knew that there was more of the chicken patty that was stuck.

She continued to do the Heimlich and the rest came out. In the meantime, Cookson said that Ricci and the custodian went to get help from the school nurse. 

“They did their part on that side,” said Cookson. “Mrs. Ricci was so vigilant seeing that child was in trouble.”

During the Nov. 16 Warwick School Committee meeting the two teacher assistants were recognized for their life saving efforts. 

But Cookson said that other teacher assistants who were trained in first aid would have done the same. 

“We don’t feel like we're heroes, we just feel like we did our jobs just like anyone else would’ve done their job,” said Cookson. 

Cookson said that she originally received her first aid training at her previous job. 

She said she also knew how important it is to be trained in first aid because of her two sons, one a firefighter and another who works in the medical field. 

While she knew it was important to have the training she didn’t think she would ever have to use it. 

In fact, going through the training she asked herself at times “would I be able to do this (Heimlich maneuver) if I had to.”

When it was time to do so 20 years later Cookson proved she was capable. 

“I guess you never know until the opportunity comes up,” said Cookson. 

Cookson hopes that others may be encouraged to become trained in first aid. 

Cookson said that the student was checked out that day and is doing fine. She said a lesson was even learned that day. 

"He's taking smaller bites now,” she said.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here