ETSU student saves choking customer’s life at Logan’s Roadhouse

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A student at East Tennesse State University saved the life of a customer at her serving job at the Johnson City Logan’s Roadhouse earlier this month thanks to training she received in her field of study.

According to a release from ETSU, Kloey McCarter is a senior in ETSU’s Cardiopulmonary Science program, and on a busy Friday night, she put her training to the test.

“There was a family sitting near the back of the restaurant, not in my section,” McCarter said. “I was getting drinks for another table, and I hear someone say, ‘My mother cannot breathe. I need a doctor; I need help.’”

McCarter had CPR and Heimlich maneuver training as part of her education in the respiratory therapy program.

This was her first time she had been faced with a breathing crisis outside of a training setting.

The woman was still conscious when McCarter first saw her choking. She then looked for her manager to make sure he was aware of the situation.

When McCarter came back to the customer, a local police chief, who was also a customer that night, was performing the Heimlich maneuver on the now unresponsive woman.

“He laid her down so I could listen to her the best that I could without my stethoscope, and I just heard a little air movement – her airway was not completely obstructed, but she was in trouble,” McCarter said. “I felt her pulse and it was starting to decrease. He kept patting her back, and I called out to someone to get me some gloves so that I could check her throat.”

After finding out the woman’s name from her family, McCarter spoke to her directly and tried to get her to cough so the gag reflex would bring up the object blocking her airway.

After McCarter’s efforts, the woman now-responsive woman coughed up a large piece of steak.

“I would not have been able to do what I did without the training I received at ETSU,” McCarter said. “I did what was in my power to do, and I am just glad it turned out the way it did.”

The woman was able to speak before the ambulance arrived and transported her from the restaurant.

McCarter’s manager praised her and sent an email to the district manager about her actions.

“Kloey McCarter as a server has professional training and sprang into action,” said manager Vince Seery. “I have rarely been so proud of a team, but Kloey specifically.”

Faculty of ETSU’s College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences also expressed how impressed they were of McCarter.

“Kloey is a wonderful student and truly excels in the clinical environment,” said Dr. Kristen McHenry, director of clinical education and assistant professor. “She is eager to learn and enjoys the fast-paced environment of health care. She believes in a team-centered approach to care and works hard at placing patients and their families at ease during stressful times of illness or injury.

Kloey is a native of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

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