Nathan Heatrick St John Ambulance Cadet administers life-saving first aid

"It was an incredible feeling to know I was responsible for saving someone's life."

Nathan Heatrick, a St John Ambulance Cadet from Armagh, administered life-saving first aid while working in a local restaurant.

Nathan was working Valentine's Day and noticed a customer clutching his throat with blue lips and a look of distress on his face. Nathan recognised that these were signs of choking and ran to the man when his wife began to shout that he was, in fact, choking.

Lifesaving skills are at the heart of our Cadet programme and these skills equipped Nathan with the knowledge to intervene.

Nathans began by administering back blows between the patient's shoulder blades. After five back blows, he checked for progress. Unfortunately, the choking persisted and he decided abdominal thrusts would be the more appropriate course of action. Thankfully, the abdominal thrusts cleared the obstruction as a piece of steak flew from the patient's mouth.

Nathan was still quite worried as the patient's breathing was abnormal and he had vomited. The manager phoned the ambulance and then Nathan placed the man in the recovery position with the help of another customer to ensure his airway would be kept clear and to avoid further choking on his vomit. He continued to monitor the patient's breathing to ensure he was still breathing whilst in the recovery position. When the ambulance arrived, they commended Nathan's efforts and told him that his quick reaction and calm response to the situation saved the customer's life.

Andrew Kerr, Regional Youth Manager said:

"Nathan is a fabulous ambassador for St John Ambulance Northern Ireland. Nathan's quick response and ability to remain calm in an emergency were remarkable. We are incredibly proud of Nathan."