Girl Scout learns the Heimlich Maneuver and saves her choking niece the next day
MARSH VALLEY — Stop by Marsh Valley Middle School on a typical afternoon and you’ll likely find Lauren Terry cheering on the sidelines or hanging out with her friends.
But last June, the 13-year-old was put in a situation that she’ll never forget.
Lauren was watching TV at home with her mom when she heard an unusual noise coming from her four-year-old niece, Jessie, who was in the kitchen.
“She had her hands around her throat and it was like a choking sound,” Lauren recalls.
Jessie was choking on a piece of meat and Lauren immediately ran into the kitchen to help.
“I grabbed under her stomach where her diaphragm is and started lifting her up and down until she coughed it up,” Lauren says.
Lauren’s mother, Stephanie Herter, was in the living room with Lauren when Jessie started choking. Herter went to jump up but was surprised how fast Lauren responded.
“She beat me in there and I was like, ‘She’s doing it the right way.’ When it actually worked, I was kind of dumbfounded like, ‘Oh my gosh. I can’t believe this just happened,'” Herter says.
In less than 30 seconds, the meat was out of Jessie’s mouth and she was breathing again.
Everyone was a little shaken up especially when you consider when Lauren learned how to do the Heimlich Maneuver the night before at a Girl Scout meeting. She never thought she’d have to put it into practice, but 24 hours later, she saved little Jessie.
Weeks later, Lauren was awarded the Girl Scout Medal of Honor – one of the highest recognitions you can receive from the organization. Lauren plans to become a Girl Scout Counselor in Training later this year, where she’ll likely learn more skills to help her and others in life.
“She didn’t even think twice about it and as a mom, I’m very very proud of her,” Herter says.