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Off-duty officer saves woman choking on broccoli

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By the time Boynton Beach Police Officer Chris Schalk saw the woman — in obvious distress — her face was pale and her lips were turning blue from not breathing.

The 82-year-old woman was eating late Sunday afternoon at the Golden Corral Buffet & Grill, 389 Winchester Blvd., when she began choking on a piece of broccoli, Boynton Beach police said.

An employee of the restaurant notified Schalk, who was was working an off-duty detail there. He was able to perform the Heimlich maneuver on the woman.

“After Officer Schalk performed 3-4 abdominal thrusts, the broccoli flew out of her mouth and she could breathe again,” according to police.

The Heimlich maneuver is the famous first aid procedure used for upper airway obstructions. It’s named after Dr. Henry Heimlich, who introduced it in 1974. The technique has been credited with saving thousands of people from potentially choking to death. Heimlich died in 2016 at the age of 96.

Police have not disclosed the name of the woman who had been choking, but said she was eventually treated by Boynton Beach Fire Rescue.

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