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updated: 11/9/2017 3:48 PM

Another GreenFields employee puts Heimlich training to good use

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  • Mary Kennedy and her husband Pat Kennedy

    Mary Kennedy and her husband Pat Kennedy
    Courtesy of Mary Kennedy

 
ivy Marketing Group

For the second time in just over a year, an employee at GreenFields of Geneva senior living community saved someone's life using the Heimlich maneuver. The first was a high school-age dining room server who rescued a resident who was choking at dinner. The second is Mary Kennedy, a life enrichment associate in GreenFields' skilled nursing and rehab and Reflections memory support. She was in a restaurant on vacation when the training she received at GreenFields saved a fellow diner's life.

"I am very proud to say that because of the life-saving training I received at GreenFields, I had the confidence to jump into action," said Kennedy of the frightening incident that occurred in Europe. While Mary and her husband were enjoying their dinner, her husband noticed a woman walking near their table at the back of the restaurant with a panicked look on her face. "I think she's choking," he said.

"Other patrons got up when they saw what was happening, but I knew exactly what to do," said Kennedy, explaining that she asked the woman, who appeared to be in her mid-60s, if she could speak. When she shook her head "no," Kennedy asked her to raise her arms and then performed the famed maneuver invented by an American thoracic surgeon, Henry Heimlich, in the 1970s. "I felt so glad I could help her and so grateful to GreenFields."

Kennedy was not the only grateful one. Once recovered, the choking woman embraced Kennedy and her husband, expressing her gratitude with several "thank you's" in a foreign accent. She told Kennedy, "I was thinking that today was going to be my last day!"

"My adrenaline was still pumping, too. It was hard to finish my meal. Maybe I should have gone out for a little walk!" said Kennedy.

According to Kennedy, all members of the GreenFields staff receive ongoing training in the Heimlich maneuver, CPR, fire and other emergency situations. They also engage in regular online courses dealing with a variety of safety issues.

"Someone at the restaurant asked me if I was a nurse," she said, remarking that several patrons approached her with their thanks. "I told her 'no,' I work in a senior living community. I was so proud to be able to say that, and I'm so grateful for all the experiences I've been given at GreenFields. They've all been wonderful, but to be able to save someone's life because of what I've learned is really something." Kennedy added that her current training goes far beyond what she received in a former senior care experience.

A GreenFields employee for the past year and a half, Kennedy and her colleagues help coordinate and carry out engaging activities designed to enrich residents' lives. "We do such fun things," she said, citing a recent Skype session with penguins in Antarctica.

"I understand that people might think of me as a hero, but again, I'm just grateful that I knew what to do because of my training at GreenFields." Remarking that the choking woman should have gone to the front of the restaurant, where more people could see the predicament she was in, Kennedy realizes that had she not been where she was, things may have turned out very differently.

While she did not share contact information with her fellow diner, said Kennedy, "I'm sure she'll always remember that day, and so will I."

GreenFields of Geneva

GreenFields is an exceptional Life Care community offering a wonderful retirement lifestyle in an ideal location. GreenFields offers independent living, assisted living, memory support, rehabilitation and skilled nursing with the most comprehensive plan available for long-term care if ever needed. For additional information, visit www.GreenFieldsofGeneva.org.

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