11-year-old Credited With Life-saving Hug On 5-year-old
Mar. 07, 1986
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ When a 5-year-old boy grabbed his throat and gave a cry of distress on the school bus, 11-year-old Neal Zielinski knew just what to do.
''Put both my hands against his stomach, pressed in and out,'' he said later. And up popped a penny that had lodged in the throat of Shawn Duda.
Neal had executed a perfect Heimlich maneuver, the procedure credited with saving hundreds of choking victims. He had once seen his father demonstrate the method for his mother.
''I didn't know if it would work,'' Neal said. ''It was the first time I had tried it.''
The drama took place Monday. By Thursday, Neal, a sixth-grader at Good Shepherd Catholic School, was a hero at school and at home.
Michael Duda, Shawn's father, said he was ''very grateful.''
Neal's father, Vincent Zielinski, said he was surprised his son had remembered the Heimlich method, which he had demonstrated two years ago.
''I don't know if I would have had the wits to do it,'' said Neal's mother, Jamie.
Neal was modest.
''I am proud of what I did,'' he said, ''but I would do the same if this ever happened again.''