Elizabeth’s story: “I never thought I’d need to save my colleague’s life”

Elizabeth Warren

After Elizabeth Warren completed a first aid course with the British Red Cross, it didn't take long before she needed to put her skills into practice in a real-life emergency.

How to help someone who's choking

Elizabeth was enjoying a team lunch at a restaurant when one of her workmates suddenly started to choke.

"She spat out water and then stood up and started gasping for breath," Elizabeth said. "She was waving her hands and clearly indicating that she couldn't breathe.

"As I was sitting further around the table, I ran to where my colleague was choking. I positioned her so that she was leaning forward and hit her firmly on her back between her shoulder blades."

After four back blows the object became dislodged and Elizabeth's colleague was able to breathe and speak normally.

Elizabeth's teammates commented that they were shocked by how hard Elizabeth had to hit her colleague to dislodge the object.

"I remembered how hard we practiced giving back blows on my first aid course; it's really got to be quite strong." Elizabeth said.

"I'd recommend for everybody to attend a first aid course"

Elizabeth was glad she'd had first aid training as it meant that she felt calm during the incident.

"It wasn't until afterwards that I realised how lucky it was that I was there to help," she said. "I never thought I'd need to save my colleague's life.

"After we had all left the restaurant, my colleague sent me a text message which said 'you're my hero'," Elizabeth added.

"I would recommend for everybody to attend a first aid course as it gives you the confidence to act. I also made friends on my course who I am still in contact with today."

Learn more about first aid

Elizabeth's story shows how the skills learned on a first aid course can be used in real life.

Find out more about how our practical courses give you the skills and confidence to act in a first aid emergency.

Find out more about our courses

© British Red Cross 2019