7-year-old saves a choking friend’s life with Heimlich maneuver he learned on ‘The Good Doctor’
He thought it was something 'important' to remember.
ABC’s “The Good Doctor” is centered around Dr. Shaun Murphy, a man with autism whose near photographic recall and ability to remember details make him an incredible surgeon. However, as a person with autism, he has difficulty communicating with his patients and fellow healthcare workers.
It’s a good show for families to watch because it takes on issues faced by people who have autism spectrum disorder. The show is also a great way for young people to learn life-saving techniques, according to a story reported by Fox News.
David Diaz Jr., 7, was eating lunch with his friend DeAndre at Woodrow Wilson Elementary school in Binghamton, New York, when he noticed his friend choking on a piece of pizza. David looked around and saw that he was closer than any of his teachers, so he got behind the choking child and performed the Heimlich maneuver.
David had learned the technique after watching “The Good Doctor” with his father, David Diaz Sr.
"The adults were circulating the cafeteria, monitoring," Kristin Korba, a second-grade teacher at the school, told Fox News. "David rushed behind [the choking student] and performed the Heimlich. "I went over right after it happened and checked [on the student]," Korba continued. "He was cleared by the nurse and parents [were] contacted."
After saving the boy’s life, David told Korba that he saw the technique on TV and thought it was something he should remember because it seemed to be something “important.”
David was commemorated for his bravery at a ceremony in his classroom where New York State Sen. Fred Akshar (R) presented him with a New York State Senate Commendation Award.
"When somebody needed it, you saved their life," Akshar told the boy in a video he posted to Facebook. "So I was pretty excited to be able to come because really, as your teacher said, you are a hero. You are. You saved somebody’s life. In the world in which we live it's nice to know there are people amongst us who are willing to give of themselves and help others and that's what you did."
Then he presented him with the award in front of his cheering classmates and DeAndre.
While it is pretty astonishing that a 7-year-old kid not only knew about the Heimlich maneuver, but how to successfully apply the technique, experts say it’s age-appropriate. The Heimlich Heroes foundation has training guides that teach children as young as the second grade to help people who are choking.
“Everyone can learn the Heimlich maneuver, regardless of size and strength,” the organization says on its website.
After his act of bravery, David’s dad isn’t discounting a career in medicine for his young son.
"If he’d like to pursue becoming a doctor when he grows up, I'll be happy to help him achieve that later in life. But it’s really up to him," Diaz Sr. said.
The Heimlich maneuver was developed by Dr. Henry Heimlich more than 40 years ago and has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
Learn more about how to perform the Heimlich maneuver at Mayo Clinic.