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Barman and team at The Cock Inn Boughton Monchelsea save life after woman chokes on food


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A pub barman was talked through CPR by an ambulance call centre worker over the phone, when a woman collapsed after choking on her food.

The 86-year-old woman was out with her daughter on January 19, at The Cock Inn, in Boughton Monchelsea near Maidstone when a piece of food lodged itself in her throat.

The Cock inn on corner of Brishing Lane, Boughton Monchelsea
The Cock inn on corner of Brishing Lane, Boughton Monchelsea

Regulars of the pub swiftly tried to help by initiating abdominal thrusts which worked in the beginning.

Soon after though, as staff were getting her some water, she suddenly collapsed and was no longer breathing.

Ben Lichfield, 23, and is barman and waiter at The Cock inn said: "When she fell onto the bench that was when I was on the phone to the ambulance."

"Once I said she had fully stopped breathing the operator told me to clear some space and start moving tables as we're going to perform CPR."

Mr Lichfield had never performed CPR previously and was completely thankful to the operator who talked him through the process.

He said: "People said I did well but I just did what the man said. He took me through the process."

Ben Lichfield humbly accredits all praise to the work of the emergency services
Ben Lichfield humbly accredits all praise to the work of the emergency services

After only a few minutes, the woman was able to breathe independently and very soon, managed to lay on her side.

The ambulance crew arrived swiftly after and took over, but thanks to the quick thinking of everyone involved the woman was in a stable state; she was even able to joke about the situation with the ambulance crew.

Mr Lichfield wanted to thank the operator and everyone and the emergency services who were able to guide him through saving the woman's life.

He said: "I think the ambulance crew got there within the space of five minutes which was just fantastic and when they came in it was definitely a relief."

The woman is currently recovering from the ordeal.

Mr Lichfield said: "I have since spoken to her, she is very raspy in her voice and she said she is very sore but there are no broken ribs and she is just recovering."

A survey carried out in September last year discovered one third of the adult public have never received CPR training.

Thankfully Mr Lichfield had a basic understanding but still needed to rely on the operator for help.

He said: "I just wish I didn't need to rely on the person on the phone to tell me how to do CPR. It would be nice to have actually been fully trained for scary situations."

Mr Lichfield said he has gained valuable experience from the event and hopes to seek official training for the future.

He said: "You'd rather not need it but if that situation happens once again I would want to feel prepared."

He went on to give advice to anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation.

"Genuinely call the ambulance and do exactly what they say. People will say try to keep your nerve and just stay calm but just ring the ambulance and listen to the voice."

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