POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A 12-year-old Polk County girl is being dubbed a hero after saving her 2-year-old cousin's life.
"I'm really proud of her," said Gloria Northern-McCoy, the girl's mother.
Northern-McCoy's said her daughter, Telliyah Northern, jumped into action the other night, in a way like she's never seen.
Telliyah's 2-year-old cousin, Shreya, was choking on a bottle top.
"I heard my aunt yelling, 'She's choking. She's choking,'" said Telliyah.
She ran into the room, grabbed her cousin, and started to do the Heimlich maneuver on her.
"I saw her do it, and I just could not believe that was her, that she was doing it," said Northern-McCoy.
Telliyah remained calm and in control. Her mother and aunt were the opposite.
"I was losing my mind," Northern-McCoy said. "This same thing happened to my niece in 1978, and she didn't survive. We've been living with that for all these years."
Thanks to Telliyah, things ended differently this time. Shreyah is alive.
The family, including Telliyah, are also thanking her teachers at McKeel Academy of Technology. She's in the medical academy, and she learned the Heimlich maneuver from her teacher, Amy Lowery, a few months ago.
"We can teach and teach and teach, and we hope that they're listening," Lowery said. "Telliyah was listening. She was listening to her cousins. She was listening in class. She did the right thing. It was very brave of her."
All of the students at McKeel are required to learn CPR and the Heimlich. Lowery said they are skills everyone should know, and she encourages everyone to step in as Telliyah did.
"They can help save a life," she said.
Here are the steps you should take to properly perform Heimlich maneuver:
- Stand behind the person, place one foot slightly in front of the other for balance
- Make a fist with one hand
- Grasp the fist with the other hand
- Perform between six and 10 abdominal thrusts until the blockage is dislodged
If that doesn't work and the person starts to lose consciousness, Lowery said you should then do CPR. But, she said do not blow air into their mouths.
"You never blow air into a person's mouth who is choking, because it can force the object further down," she said. "You just want to continue with chest compressions, 30 at a time."She said you, or someone there with you should also call 911.
She said you or someone at the scene should also call 911.