Katie Bridges practiced diagnosing and treating medical conditions last week on high-tech simulators during a health occupations class at Lakeside High.
But the 18-year-old recently put her medical training to practical use when she saved a man's life using the Heimlich maneuver.
During a lunch outing with her mother in January at Logan's Roadhouse, Katie witnessed a man choking on a piece of a sandwich.
"He ran up to the bar area and was pounding on a table, trying to yell for help, but nothing was coming out," the Lakeside senior recalled. "You could tell he was choking, but everyone was just kind of standing around not knowing what to do."
As a freshman, Katie learned the Heimlich maneuver while training to become a lifeguard.
When she saw the man choking, her instincts took over, Katie said.
"I didn't hesitate. I didn't think. I didn't have time to think," she said. "I just ran up to him and starting doing it."
Katie described the man as at least 6 feet 5 inches tall. Considering his size, she initially doubted if she was helping him.
"Every time I pulled back, I felt my feet coming off the ground," she said. "My mom grabbed a guy and told him to help me, but by the time he got there the food came out."
Though Katie never learned the man's name, she said he did insist on paying for her and her mother's lunch.
The experience solidified Katie's desire to pursue a career in medicine. She said she is considering becoming a physician's assistant, a nurse, an operating room technician or possibly a physician.
Whatever she chooses, Lakeside High healthcare science teacher Cathy Gray said she is sure Katie will succeed.
"She is extremely bright and very open to all the possibilities before her," Gray said.
"I'm so proud of her and I'm not surprised she did that. She's just that kind of person."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.