Laredo woman saved life with Heimlich maneuver learned weeks earlier

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A Laredo woman who helped save a life last month by performing the Heimlich maneuver learned how to perform it just weeks before the incident. And she calls for more of these trainings to be done in the community to help individuals act quickly if needed.

Brenda L. Garcia, a Webb County employee at the Ladrillito Community Center, helped save the life of a woman who was choking on the morning of June 29. Garcia said she was making breakfast for some of the other people in the activity center, and that’s when the incident started.

“I really didn’t think about it, I just reacted immediately. … I am happy to have come at this precise moment to help him,” said Garcia. “She was really out of breath, and I could see in her eyes that she was really freaking out and scared for herself. It’s just something that happened so quickly.

At first, as the woman began to choke, Garcia thought she might just have a harsh cough, as she had coughed several times prior to the incident. But then when she noticed she had gone to the bathroom and jumped out of it and waving her hands in panic, that’s when she came in and performed the maneuver. from Heimlich.

“That’s when I dropped everything, and just went with her and did the Heimlich maneuver on her,” Garcia said. “I just waited for the food to come out, and it came out. She was able to breathe again.


Garcia said the woman thanked her for what she had done. She reportedly lost her appetite and didn’t want to eat for some time after the incident, but eventually felt better as the day went on.

The two women then spoke and the choking woman shared the news with her family and loved ones. Garcia said she thanked her for taking action. She said at one point she felt like she was going to pass out, because she couldn’t think or function, and she thought she was going to die because it was impossible to breathe.

“She said she was ‘very agradecida de mi,’ because I helped her breathe again and potentially saved her life,” Garcia said. “During the press conference, she also said that she really liked me because if it wasn’t for that quick reaction to her choking, she probably wouldn’t have been there alive that day. The tears filled her eyes when she saw this, and I confess that it was not only a scary moment for her but for everyone who was here and saw her that day as well.

According to Garcia, this was the first time she had performed the Heimlich maneuver on anyone. In fact, she had taken a CPR course just weeks before the incident, thanks to her status as a county government employee.

Garcia said she wouldn’t have performed an action close to the maneuver if she hadn’t been in class because she didn’t really know how to do it. But she was extremely happy that the CPR training had helped her prepare for the situation.

“I want to thank the judge and the commissioners and commissioner Cindy Liendo for recognizing me and giving us the opportunity to be able to take these courses and these courses that we have taken,” said Garcia. “Without these courses, I would not have been able to react quickly. Honestly, what I did is something I believe any human would do to help and respond.

Garcia said free classes offered to Webb County employees include mental health and CPR classes, which she says are essential to help save the lives of those at risk of choking or another emergency. Garcia said Liendo and activity center director Ladrillo were the ones who pushed them to take these classes in the first place, and she is very grateful for that.

Garcia said the classes were necessary because many people might be afraid to take action for fear of doing something wrong to the person who needs help or making the situation worse. She asks the local county government to provide more of these courses for free everywhere, because they do indeed save lives.

“I think county employees and anyone else should take CPR classes or any other classes that are free to the community, so the community can respond to any situation they find themselves in,” Garcia said. “I hope if they offer free lessons to anyone, please take them. They help when it comes to a situation like this. People should take them into consideration because we never know when a situation like this could happen in front of us, and we should be ready to help each other and be there for each other.

At Monday’s court of commissioners meeting, Liendo presented the article to recognize Garcia for her efforts and praised her for her action.

“I’m very proud of Brenda for her quick response and life-saving actions,” Liendo said. “Luckily situations like this don’t happen often, so most of us don’t know how we would react, but Brenda instinctively used her CPR training skills and performed the Heimlich Maneuver to (her ) save the life.”

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