Food is a great social lubricant. However, one of the physical side effects of alcohol is that it decreases a person's ability to swallow. Thus laughing, talking, eating and drinking, all at the same time, something has to give....
Wine is here to be tasted,
Keep an eye on your guests. If you see someone clutch their throat, then cough or no sound comes out, that means they are choking. Don't just stand there! Do something! Often, you will see them running to the bathroom. If so, follow! Be sure they are okay. Knowing what to do could be the difference between life and death.
When it's gone we'll buy more.
Aimless slowness, choking in heart
If they are coughing out loud, encourage them to continue. The cough is the body's mechanism to clear the airway. Once they go silent, or only a bare squeak remains, you need to do abdominal thrusts. First, ask permission. Then move behind the person (for age one and up). Reach around. Place your fist just above the navel. Put your leg between their legs, if they are your size or bigger to steady yourself, then pull your hand in and up to dislodge the object. Continue until the object comes out or they go unconscious. If they go unconscious, be sure someone has called 9-1-1 and follow the A-B-C's for how to save a life:
My acquaintence says: How melancholy.
Airway. Look in their mouth. Sweep with your finger if you see something.
Breathing. Give two rescue breathes. If the breathes don't go in, retilt and try again. If the breathes still don't go in, give age appropriate chest compressions, then look in the mouth. Sweep if you see something. Give two breaths. Repeat cycle until the breaths go in.
Circulation. Check for a pulse. If they look pale, limp and lifeless, do CPR. If you haven't taken a class, most 9-1-1 operators can walk you through the steps.
Thus attentiveness coupled with training can save your loved one or your customer. What if this person died in your restaurant without anyone trying to help? Would their family ever visit your establishment again? And what if you save their life? While you cannot accept or expect any kind of compensation and still be covered by the Good Samaritan Laws, you are likely to have generations of loyal customers. As Confucius says:
Milord has wine,
Do come dine again.
Don Ross is the CEO of OptiWell, the Optimum in Wellness training, with centers in San Diego, Santee and National City. CPR and First Aid certification teaches the A-B-C's for how to save a life and looks great on your resume. Visit us online at www.OptiWell-inc.com or call (619) 204-3838 to register for a class.
Excerpts from The Confucian Odes: The Classic Anthology Defined By Confucius translated by Ezra Pound. Harvard Univ. Press, 1954. New Directions Publ. edition: NY, NY. Pgs: 84, 86, 165, 33, 90.