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“This Anti-Choking Device Could Have Prevented My Son's Death” — E.R. Nurse Shares Heart-Wrenching Story

By Annette Johnson, RN | October 23, 2022

Choking is the 4th leading cause of accidental death worldwide…and it happens to people of all ages!

Ten years ago, I lost my son Jace to a sudden, preventable accident.

It’s hard to talk about, but I feel like I have to. Because I believe my story can help you avoid this same tragedy.

By the end of this article, you will know EXACTLY how to respond to a choking incident, whether it’s at home, the office, school, or a nursing home. Reading it may help you save a life — including your own.

First, my story. It was Christmas dinner, and suddenly my son Jace started choking.

I’m an E.R. nurse, so I sprung into action. I started with back blows — but it didn’t work.

So I switched to abdominal thrusts, just like I’m trained to do… but I had trouble getting leverage and wasn’t making progress.

As Jace turned blue, my husband started performing back blows… but nothing happened.

Then he tried abdominal thrusts again while I called an ambulance…

But there was nothing we could do.

Jace left us right there at the dinner table, in front of the whole family, as we helplessly alternated between back blows and abdominal thrusts.

Believe me, there’s nothing as terrible as watching your 8-year-old son die a preventable death right in your arms. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it.

There are so many things I’ll never forgive myself for… I let my guard down. I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t think this could happen to me.

It took me weeks to start answering phone calls, and I didn’t leave the house for months. But when I finally did, I decided I would turn our tragedy into something positive.

I knew I couldn’t bring Jace back. But I could help prevent others from losing their loved ones.

The following holiday season, I began my mission to spread awareness about choking — especially during the holidays, when your guard is down, and yet the risk of choking is at its peak.

Ever since I’ve spent my holidays teaching choking prevention and first aid. But something wasn’t right…

I visit schools, offices, and nursing homes to teach choking awareness and prevention to teachers, children, and seniors (including tips on eating safely, avoiding small toys and packaging around children, etc).

Demonstrating CPR & choking first aid at Monrovia Community Center

Of course, I also teach how to save a choking victim… and I used to recommend alternating between abdominal thrusts and back blows.

Yup — the same methods that failed to save Jace. I still recommended them because there was no better option.

I remember blaming myself for failing to save Jace using my first-aid training. Was my technique off? Did I do something wrong? Why couldn't I save him? These thoughts raced in my head for years.

Unfortunately, abdominal thrusts only work on 70-86% of choking victims1 — even when it’s administered properly.

It also runs a high risk of fracturing ribs, rupturing your diaphragm, or injuring your gastrointestinal tract.

Back blows can be effective, but they also run the risk of pushing the object deeper into the throat.

That’s why I focused most of my teaching on preventing choking situations. But they’re nearly impossible to prevent completely.

So I was always nervous when people asked me:

“What happens when abdominal thrusts and back blows don’t work?”

I didn’t have an answer. In fact, the mere question gave me flashbacks.

But last year, that completely changed. I now have a much better answer: You use LifeVac.

LifeVac is a new anti-choking device that can instantly save a choking victim — even when conventional first aid fails.

A doctor at the hospital I work at showed it to me… and I admit, I was angry at first. I knew right away that this device could have saved Jace if it had existed ten years ago.

It didn’t feel fair that LifeVac didn’t exist when my family needed it. But when I learned that LifeVac has already saved over 500 lives, I quickly realized how important this device is — and started telling everyone I could about it.

If you haven’t heard about LifeVac, you absolutely need to. It’s an incredible safety net to have nearby.

What is LifeVac?

LifeVac is an anti-choking device that works like a vacuum to remove objects from your throat in seconds.

You use it when the traditional first aid methods fail. You can even use it right away, particularly when it’s not possible to administer other methods — such as with the obese, elderly, and children.

Anyone can use it easily — and you can even use it to stop yourself from choking.

Most importantly, LifeVac has been 100% effective at preventing choking deaths.

LifeVac has already saved 520 lives… and counting.2

And you might be surprised to hear that choking can easily happen to anyone. Take for example:

  • A 62-year-old man who almost choked to death on his dessert…
  • A 1-year-old girl who choked on a piece of string…
  • An 8-week-old baby with GERD who choked on her bottle of formula…
  • And a 22-year-old man who choked on a piece of pizza.

However, in these cases, LifeVac saved all of their lives.

In fact, LifeVac has worked in every situation it’s been used!

Here’s Why You Need LifeVac For The Holidays

In my years of teaching and working in the E.R., I’ve seen all sorts of choking incidents… and they always spike during the holidays.

In 2020 alone, there were 150,000 toy-related E.R. visits, and most of them were for choking! In fact, choking is the 4th leading cause of accidental death worldwide.3

Here’s why choking is a huge risk for the holidays:

  • Families gather to EAT…and they talk and laugh around the table instead of chewing their food carefully.
  • Traveling and family time means that kids of all ages play together, often in unfamiliar surroundings. Younger children can choke on toys, new foods, and “un-baby proofed” household items.
  • New gifts (such as small toys) can end up in young children’s mouths.

The fact of the matter is that choking happens to people of ALL ages, sizes, lifestyles, and body types.

That’s why I recommend having a LifeVac around at all times.

How Does LifeVac Work?

LifeVac has a patented valve that creates one-way suction to remove whatever food or object is stuck in the airway.

As the plunger goes down, the patented valve vents air out the side of the mask. When the plunger comes up, an airtight seal pulls the object up and out of the airway.

With LifeVac, it is impossible to push the object further down the airway.

Although it can take several plunges to remove a firmly stuck object, the patented valve has successfully saved the lives of EVERYONE it’s been used on so far.

LifeVac is manually powered, so it never needs electricity, batteries, or charging. It’s always ready to save a life!

How Do I Use LifeVac?

Anyone can use LifeVac — it’s as simple as Place, Push, Pull.

The LifeVac mask fits people of all sizes and ages. To use it, you simply:

  1. Place the mask over the nose and mount
  2. Push down the plunger handle
  3. Pull up the plunger handle

The user-friendly design makes it extremely easy to use, even in a stressful environment. And its patented one-way air valve prevents user error.

In addition, every LifeVac Home Kit comes with practice masks, so you can be sure you’re comfortable with the technique.

Who Needs LifeVac?

As an E.R. nurse who’s seen choking accidents both at work and home, I think EVERYONE should have a LifeVac in their home and car.

Here’s why: LifeVac is your only option when abdominal thrusts and back blows fail — and it’s extremely effective, so it’s useful for everyone.

And in MANY situations abdominal thrusts aren’t even possible, such as:

  • People who live alone
  • Pregnant women
  • Babies
  • Medically fragile people
  • Anyone who’s bigger around than your arms can reach

In all of these cases, abdominal thrusts and back blows aren’t possible — but LifeVac can safely and harmlessly remove the object.

In an emergency, my professional opinion is that I’d rather rely on LifeVac than anything else.

I can’t recommend LifeVac enough — every home, school, restaurant, office, car, and nursing home should have one.

Here's my precious niece holding a LifeVac

My family suffered a terrible loss the day Jace passed away.

The only consolation I have is that with every holiday, I’m putting more LifeVacs out there in the world.

It’s truly an amazing safety device to have nearby, especially during the holidays.

So far I have given LifeVac to friends, family members, teachers, colleagues, coaches, babysitters, and neighbors. I plan to keep spreading the word and giving LifeVac as a gift for as long as I live.

I do it to honor Jace.

Update:

With the upcoming fall and winter holidays, LifeVac is running a special promotion to make LifeVac even easier and more affordable to give as a gift.

For a limited time, LifeVac is offering a special deal: when you use the link below, you’ll get a FREE LifeVac Home Kit when you buy 2!

Exclusive LifeVac Home Kit Discount - UP TO 40% OFF

Buy multiples and save — perfect for gifting.

This website is an advertising marketplace for companies that provide consumers with products and services. This website is an advertisement and not a news publication. All persons depicted on this site are models. The story and characters have been created to help communicate the benefits of the LifeVac lifesaving device. The owner does not recommend or endorse any specific company. Terms, conditions, and exclusions may apply. These products are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease. This information does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied upon as such. Consult with your doctor before modifying your regular medical regime.

References: Abdominal thrusts only work on 70-86% of choking victims1 | LifeVac has saved over 500 lives2 | Choking is the 4th leading cause of accidental death worldwide3