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June 17, 2013

Quick-thinking DPW worker saves choking man

AMESBURY — A city Department of Public Works employee is being credited for saving the life of a man choking on his breakfast yesterday morning at Andyman’s Bakery off Hillside Avenue.

Calvin Eaton, formerly of the Newburyport Department of Public Services, didn’t hesitate when noticing that a middle-aged man was having trouble breathing around 9:30 a.m., according to an employee of the popular breakfast/coffee shop.

Eaton leaped to his feet, went behind the victim and asked him if he was all right.

When the victim said he wasn’t, Eaton performed the Heimlich maneuver until the obstruction was cleared.

“The guy was saved,” employee Vicki McDermott said. “You could tell the guy was in trouble.”

McDermott said around 9:30 a.m. the victim’s female companion shouted that he couldn’t breathe and implored someone to help him.

That prompted Eaton to stop eating his own breakfast and come to the victim’s rescue.

“He just jumped right up and started giving him the Heimlich,” McDermott said.

Afterward, the victim, who is a regular at Andyman’s, sat down again and stayed in the restaurant for a few more minutes before departing.

Eaton, who was off-duty at the time of the incident, is also a regular there, according to McDermott.

The Heimlich maneuver, named after Dr. Henry Heimlich, is a series of abdominal thrusts performed from behind the victim and directed underneath the victim’s diaphragm, compressing the lungs and exerting pressure on items lodged in a person’s windpipe.

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