The swirling force of Texas politics

Lawmakers May End Anti-Choking Poster Law

By Susy Solis
|  Monday, May 16, 2011  |  Updated 6:53 PM CDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
The House gave unanimous approval to a bill that would no longer make it a requirement for restaurant's to display anti-choking posters.

Susy Solis, NBCDFW.com

The House gave unanimous approval to a bill that would no longer make it a requirement for restaurant's to display anti-choking posters.

advertisement

A bill before the Texas Legislature would no longer require restaurants to have a poster showing the Heimlich Maneuver.

The state law requiring the posters has been in place for 22 years, but Rep. Ralph Sheffield, R-Temple, says the posters are not necessary.

He says the Heimlich isn't the only way to help a choking victim, as many people can dislodge a stuck piece of food with a swat to the back.

"The concern, of course, is, if done improperly, you could actually break ribs," said Dr. Paul Worrell, a family practitioner.

Worrell also said the has never seen someone sustain such an injury from the Heimlich.

The American Red Cross teaches both techniques -- the abdominal thrust and the back blows.

"Neither of those methods are better than the other; they are all effective," said Andria Butler, an instructor of a training and preparedness class at the American Red Cross.

While at times, one back blow is all that is needed to dislodge a stuck piece of food, it's not  enough at other times.

Ward Prejean, 19, was sitting at a restaurant eating dinner with his family when he laughed and accidentally inhaled a piece of chicken.

"I was literally suffocating in the blink of an eye," he said.

His father, who had just taken a CPR class for his job a few days earlier, stepped in when he began to turn blue.

"He hit me on the back five times; it still didn't dislodge,"  said.

His father performed the Heimlich maneuver and the stuck piece of food flew out.

"It was a very scary experience," said Prejean as he took a class to learn the techniques that saved his life.

Health officials say that while the posters may not help save a person's life, having a visible reminder of what to do can't hurt.

"For those persons who are unsure of what to do, are untrained or just nervous about what they've been taught, having a visual reference can be a big help," Butler said.

"Since we know that both techniques work, both should be demonstrated in some sort of a poster in the restaurant," Worrell said.

The bill passed unanimously in the House and is expected to be voted on in the Senate sometime this week.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
Get NBCDFW on Mobile!
Get NBCDFW's free news and weather... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out