Family of Sherry Campbell help Promed Home Launch Choking Prevention Public Information Campaign
Over 125 deaths in Ireland per annum due to Choking
The family of Sherry Campbell and Promed Home, the leading supplier of medical products, based in Killorglin in Kerry, launched ‘Be Choke Aware’. Be Choke Aware is a public information campaign that aims to help raise awareness of choking and how to prevent it.
Twenty-nine-year-old school teacher from Co Down, Sherry Campbell, was tragically found by her father after choking while on her own in the family’s kitchen. Sherry would have turned 30 on Thursday 12th October and the family are now keen to raise awareness on what to do if you are choking and alone.
Over 125 deaths occur in Ireland and 162,000 globally per annum from choking. Under the guidance of Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Dr Fergal Hickey, Promed Home’s campaign entitled, #BeChokeAware offers advice for people on how to assist someone who is choking and what to do if you are in the company of someone who is choking.
The campaign is being launched in conjunction with the Life Vac, Promed Home’s revolutionary new choking assistance device that can be easily used alongside general choking guidelines in an emergency choking situation.
Commenting, Dr Fergal Hickey said: “Choking is the fourth most common cause of unintentional non-disease-related deaths worldwide. In each of our 29 Emergency Departments (EDs) the length and breadth of the country, we see a number of choking incidents every year, some of which are unfortunately fatal. Like so many tragic things we see in our EDs, prevention is much more effective than cure. I am therefore happy to support anything we can do to help make people more aware of the risks and reduce presentations to our EDs. While everyone is at risk of choking, there are some people at significantly higher risk. Patients with neurological conditions, previous stroke and intellectual disability are at greater risk as are our much older citizens, young children and those who are edentulous. While everyone should learn Basic Life Support, the availability of something like the Life Vac may provide another useful tool in treating a choking person. Where those at high risk of choking are congregated, there is a particular logic in being as well prepared as possible, should this frightening and potentially fatal emergency occur.
As part of the #BeChokeAware campaign, Promed Home will donate a percentage of the sales of the Life Vac to the Sherry Campbell foundation. The Foundation was set up by friends and family of Sherry’s to increase awareness of choking prevention and to raise funds for a special needs teaching assistant at Strangford College in Northern Ireland, where Sherry was a teacher.
Commenting, Dannielle Elmes, Founder of the Sherry Campbell Foundation, said: “We set up the Sherry Campbell Foundation to provide a valuable legacy for a cause close to Sherry’s heart. Sherry was genuinely one of the sweetest people you could meet. She was an extremely caring person and adored working with special needs children. I know she would want to ensure that people were aware of how to prevent choking either for themselves or for others and this is what we are hoping to achieve with the #BeChokeAware campaign from Promed Home and through the Sherry Campbell Foundation.”
Commenting on the choking awareness campaign, Sibéal Keily, Commercial Director of Promed Home, said: “Choking is a lot more common than people think and is something that people in specific walks of life including mothers of young children, carers of older people and restaurant managers for example, are acutely aware of. The Life Vac is a revolutionary new product that is very simple and easy to use and we hope it will provide reassurance to people who work with those at high risk every day. The Life Vac isn’t enough on its own however. Speed and know-how is vital when someone is choking so it’s important that people are fully aware of what to do and that is why we have launched this campaign, #BeChokeAware.”
Details of Promed’s #BeChokeAware campaign is available on their website on www.promedhome.ie/bechokeaware. The webpage includes preventative tips and first aid advice for people who encounter choking victims as follows:
Advice to Assist in the Prevention of Choking:
- Chew food slowly.
- Do not drink too much alcohol.
- Cut food into small pieces for children and older people.
- Do not leave small objects near babies and young children.
- Always supervise young children while playing and eating.
How to Help a Choking Adult or Older Child
- Check the situation. If they are coughing forcefully, encourage them to continue coughing to try and clear the object. If they can’t cough, speak or breathe, you will need to act immediately.
- Perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre. Let the person know that you are going to perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre as follows:
- Stand behind the victim with one leg forward between the victim’s legs.
- For a child, move down to their level and keep your head to one side.
- Reach around the abdomen and locate the navel.
- Place the thumb side of your fist against the abdomen just above the navel.
- Grasp your fist with your other hand and thrust inward and upward into the victim’s abdomen with quick jerks.
- For a responsive pregnant victim, or any victim you cannot get your arms around or for whom abdominal thrusts are not effective, give chest thrusts from behind; avoid squeezing the ribs with your arms.
- Continue thrusts until the victim expels the object or becomes unresponsive.
- Even after choking stops, seek medical attention
3. Place – Push – Pull
Should the Heimlich Manoeuvre fail to dislodge the item or its use is not appropriate, Promed Home’s Life Vac may be used. This medical suction device can be used in the same manner as a plunger to extract the lodged item from the choking victim’s airways.
It is simple to use by placing the device over the victim’s mouth and nose. Place one hand in line with the top of the mask with the apex of the nose and the bottom of the mask just under the bottom lip. Hold the mask in place and with your other hand a quick push and pull on the handle.
For further information including an instructional video on how to use Life Vac, visit www.promedhome.ie/bechokeaware.
For more information on or to make a donation to the Sherry Campbell Foundation visit www.thesherrycampbellfoundation.org
• LifeVac can be used on children of 18kg and above (age varies with this from 2.5 to 3.5 years), when standard choking protocol as outlined above has failed or when protocol cannot be administered, i.e. for wheelchair users, obese or pregnant people.
• It can be used on all choking incidents – full and partial blockages.
• Life Vac is CE accredited, FDA registered, MHRA registered as a class 1 medical device and Canadian Health Service registered. It is one of a suite of medical products in the ‘’Promed Home’ range that are available directly to patients.