Choking Baby in Restaurant Saved By a Stranger with Lifevac Device


It was an alarming moment in a South Carolina restaurant when a 10-month old baby started to choke on a piece a pancake.

“We kind of hit him on the back, thought OK, he’s got this, he’s gonna get it down,” the baby’s mom, Jayne Koehler, said. The whole incident was captured on surveillance cameras.

Jayne and Jon realized quickly how serious the problem was.

“He was turning blue, and it happened really fast. You can see on the video where I turn him over. And at that point, he looked really bad. I thought, ‘OK, this is not good,’ and that’s when I yelled for help,”Jayne spoke.

Diners rushed to help the distressed family, but the Heimlich maneuver didn’t work. 

“I thought he was going to die,”Jayne spoke.

Major Hillard, a man of faith, was saved by the Lifevac. 

“I could hear immediately in her voice, it was not a good situation,”Hillard spoke.

Hillard used the Lifevac to try to suction the obstruction from little Gabriel’s mouth. Gabriel miraculously began to breathe again after several uses of the Lifevac.

“As soon as I did that last pull, his eyes popped open, and he started gasping for air,”Hillard spoke.

Inside Edition was there as the Koehlers reunited with the man who saved their child’s life.

The Lifevac is an airway-clearing device that can be carried around. Arthur Lih, the founder and CEO of Lifevac, put a piece of pancake in a dummy’s mouth to demonstrate how it works.

Hillard kept the device in his car almost five years, and had never used it before. Lifevac says that, even though their product is now available, they encourage everyone to practice CPR and the Heimlich maneuver.

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