Rock Hill elementary student saves choking classmate - | WBTV Charlotte

Rock Hill elementary student saves choking classmate

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) -

A South Carolina fourth grader is credited with helping save the life of his classmate who was choking on a chicken nugget at lunch.

Damariyon Pichardo jumped into action to perform abdominal thrusts on his friend, Thomas Adkins, after realizing he couldn't breathe.

“When he started choking I got behind him,” Pichardo said.

The 10-year-old said at first he thought Adkins was joking, until he realized his friend couldn't breathe.

“I couldn't breathe, and I was trying to tell him,” Adkins said.

Adkins said he had almost finished his last chicken nugget.

“It got stuck and then one part went down, and then I shot it back down and then I started choking,” Adkins recalled.

Pichardo is still learning reading, writing and arithmetic, but he has lifesaving 101 down pat.

“My mom, she went to nursing school and then, like, she taught us how to do it before, and that came to mind when he started choking,” Pichardo said.

The abdominal thrusts may have saved his friend's life, but also sparked the conversation of how to jump into action during an emergency like choking.

“It takes a couple of minutes for the ambulance to get there, so it's best that you know how to do it,” Adkins said.

Pichardo said he was glad nearby teachers came to take his friend to the school nurse, because he still wasn't sure if he was okay.

“I was scared after I help him, because he still was kind of red,” Pichardo said.

Adkins returned to class with a story to tell shortly after his experience.

Both boys didn't let the close call change their thoughts on the menu.

“I like the chicken nuggets,” Pichardo laughed.

The pair say they learned an important lesson on knowing what to do, saving a life, and maybe spending a little more time on the last bite.

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