Mount Prospect police officer honored for rescuing woman from choking

  • Mount Prospect police officer Ognjen Saric, left, receives a life safety award from acting Fire Chief John Dolan at last week's village board meeting.

      Mount Prospect police officer Ognjen Saric, left, receives a life safety award from acting Fire Chief John Dolan at last week's village board meeting. Steve Zalusky | Staff Photographer

 
Updated 6/7/2021 6:25 PM

Mount Prospect police officer Ognjen Saric received a village Life Safety Award last week for saving a choking victim by applying the Heimlich maneuver.

The award was presented at the village board meeting by acting Fire Chief John Dolan, who said it was an opportunity "to not only recognize a job well done, but also reinforce an important message to the community."

 

Dolan said he often stresses the term "chain of survival."

"The most important link in the chain is the first one," he added.

He said firefighters too often get all the glory from thankful residents, when "it was actually the individual that was willing to intervene prior to our arrival that made the difference."

In this case, that person was Saric.

"Oxygen deprivation from an airway obstruction can result in permanent brain damage or death within four to six minutes, which is about what our response time is, so it's safe to say that Officer Saric made a big difference," Dolan said.

Saric administered the maneuver to the victim on March 13, when he responded to an ambulance assist call. When he arrived, he found a woman slumped forward in a wheelchair.

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The woman was not breathing, and her face and lips were turning blue, according to a village account of the rescue. Saric positioned himself behind the victim and administered the Heimlich, dislodging the obstruction and opening the woman's airway. She then resumed breathing and regained consciousness.

Saric did not speak during the presentation beyond saying, "Thank you."

"This is not an isolated case by any means," Dolan said. "It's unbelievable the support we get from the officers of the Mount Prospect Police Department."

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