.BEVERLY — When Rockport police sergeant Mike Marino went to have Chinese food with his family Sunday afternoon, he never imagined he was going to be called into action.
Their meals had been served at China Jade when his wife said she thought a woman at a nearby table was choking.
“I could see a woman with her son and daughter-in-law or daughter and son-in-law, and they were trying to coach her,” he said. “I went over to ask her if she needed help, but she wasn’t able to communicate too well — but she shook her head ‘yes.’”
Marino, who said he didn’t think it was a full obstruction, did an abdominal thrust from behind the woman’s wheelchair.
“It looked like it could have taken a negative turn, so I asked my wife to call 911,” he said. “Then she leaned forward and I gave her about five back blows and then a large piece of meat came out on the plate.”
Rockport Police Chief Tom McCarthy commended his officer for his immediate response and exemplary action.
“It was very fortunate that Sergeant Marino was present and responded to assist the woman,” the chief said. “He quickly determined she needed immediate medical attention and performed the Heimlich maneuver dislodging the food she was choking on, and in all probability saved her life,” he said. “This police department and community is fortunate to have such an outstanding police officer.”
The manager at China Jade could not be reached for comment Monday.
When the ambulance arrived, the woman declined any service or transport. Marino said another man he believed to be a firefighter was standing by, as well.
“When she was being wheeled out with her family, she came over and thanked me. She was really appreciative,” said Marino.
“With all the training we’ve had over the years, I had never done it and wasn’t sure how it would it work. I didn’t realize the severity of the situation until afterward, when people started calling me and I was getting text messages. I’m just glad she’s OK.”
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.