A young care worker, who saved a 105-year-old woman from choking, has been praised by her employers for her actions.
Chané Furlong, 20, who works for Care UK, had prepared dinner for Phyllis Chaplin, Camberley’s oldest resident, when a piece of food became lodged in her throat and she started coughing.
Although Mrs Chaplin said she was alright, Chané knew something was wrong.
She said: “She has dementia so I had to take what she said with the possibility that something was wrong.
“She carried on coughing and then I heard a cracking sound in her throat so I knew she was choking.”
Chané, who has worked as a carer for a year and lives in Fernhill Road, Farnborough, moved Mrs Chaplin to her kitchen sink and began slapping her back, but the cracking sound in her throat got louder so she called an ambulance.
She said: “The operator told me to carry out the back slapping procedure and get her to carry on coughing, which I did, and then it got to the stage where she said I should do the Heimlich manoeuvre on her to get the food out.
“I was a bit worried about doing it because of her age, she’s not the strongest of people, but just as I got prepared to do it I saw the flashing lights of the ambulance outside.”
Paramedics carried out checks on Mrs Chaplin when they arrived and the piece of food eventually dislodged itself after around 10 minutes.
Speaking after the near-miss with the braised steak and mash on January 12, Chané said: “This is the first time something like this has happened to me and hopefully it will be the last as it was very stressful.
“My training just kicked in – we are given a lot of training and in that situation you don’t have time to think of anything else, you just do what you have to.”
Mrs Chaplin’s daughter, Doreen McVicar, who also lives in Camberley, said: "Chané showed great presence of mind and really does deserve full praise.
"Like many people, I have attended life-saving talks and you always hope that you will be able to do it should the time come.
"I am just so pleased that Chané was able to keep a cool head and do what needed to be done."
Jennifer Flowerdew, care co-ordinator at Care UK’s Basingstoke office, said: “Chané did amazingly well.
“She has only been a support worker for a year, but she saw what needed to be done and she did it.
"It is very impressive and we are all delighted that Mrs Chaplin had no problems following the incident. Without Chané’s presence of mind it could have been a very different story."