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VMHS Student Saves Mother’s Life with Heimlich Maneuver

Alex didn’t know that when he chose to take a CPR training class and learn the Heimlich maneuver that he would be putting those skills to use on someone so close to him like his mother.

It was a regular Sunday morning for the De Leon family except their son Alex wasn’t supposed to be at home. His usual routine was to hang out with his friend and spend time over at his friend’s house except for some unusual reason on October 29th he decided to have his friend come over to his home. It was a good thing for Esmeralda De Leon because while she was eating lunch at the dining table, her husband, son and his friend were watching the football game on the sofa.

In an instant, Esmeralda, starting choking on her food and couldn’t breathe. This is when Alex heard a choking sound coming from his mom and he kept asking her if she was ok. He realized she couldn’t breathe and instantly took action.

Alex remembered the training he had received while learning CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. He asked his mom if she was choking and when she couldn’t respond that is when he got behind her and performed the maneuver.

“I just got behind her and started to do the Heimlich maneuver,” said Alex De Leon. “At that point I didn’t hold back, I didn’t know if I was performing the maneuver too hard or not, all I wanted was for her to breathe.”

Shortly after that Esmeralda was able to breathe and opened the front door to get some more air. After experiencing a life and death moment like what had just happened, she needed a moment to assess the ordeal that she had just gone through.

“I’m very thankful that he was there and that he reacted so quickly,” said Esmeralda De Leon. “It is horrific and very scary when you can’t breathe, so I am very grateful to his educators that taught and trained him.”

Alex learned these procedures in his nursing and health classes where they taught him how to perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. This is a subject area that he is extremely interested in and will be pursuing a career in nursing after graduation. He is definitely off to a good start with his reaction time being so quick to assess the situation and then jumping in to perform maneuvers that he has been trained on.

He would like to thank the individuals responsible for teaching him the skills and courses that have made an impact on him, his family and in his future. A very special thank you to Mr. William Proctor, Mrs. Karen Hurst, and Mrs. Christina Reyes.


Alexandro De Leon, is the son of Carlos and Esmeralda De Leon.

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