MPP Michael Mantha saves Sault man from choking

TORONTO—Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha saved a Sault Ste. Marie man from choking during a reception at Queen’s Park last week.

“I was probably more scared than he was,” stated Mr. Mantha, in relaying the story of his lifesaving measures on Tuesday of last week. “You know what happened, happened quite quickly. I was in the legislature dining room, enjoying a meal and drink, and having discussion with others when I noticed the gentleman beside me was grabbing his chest and was in discomfort. He got up and started to walk away, and followed him and I found him choking, so I performed the Heimlich manoeuver on him.”

The man, Eric Barton, a financial adviser from Sault Ste. Marie, had been speaking with Mr. Mantha over dinner while meeting with a delegation from ADVOCIS, a national association representing financial advisers.

“It was fortunate we were able to clear his throat of the piece of food he was choking on in the first attempt,” said Mr. Mantha. “From there we looked at each other, and went to the restroom so both of us could have the opportunity to compose ourselves, and then laughed about the whole thing.”

“It just happened so quickly, you just automatically help out,” said Mr. Mantha. “Other people would have reacted the same,” he said. “It is like when someone sees a fire, you can help and throw a bucket of water on the flames or you can walk away. When you someone who needs your help you respond to it.”

“We can now prove we take care of our dinner guests in Queen’s Park,” quipped Mr. Mantha. “I was pleasantly surprised when this was addressed by one of my colleagues in legislature and was humbled when the speaker and the gallery and members of the public gave me a standing ovation for my actions. Each of us would do the same thing in the same situation.”

Mr. Barton, who was taught the Heimlich manoeuvre as a Heart and Stroke volunteer for the last 30 years, praised Mr. Mantha’s quick reaction. He told the Sault Star in its May 2, 2013 edition it was interesting to be on the other side of the situation. He explained his airway had become completely obstructed by a piece of beef and he was heading for the lobby when Mr. Mantha intervened.

Mr. Barton told the Star, “Mike recognized right away I was in distress and all I heard was “Eric are you okay,” and he did the Heimlich manoeuvre and on the first thrust (the food) popped out.”

Tom Sasvari