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He didn’t choke under pressure

Campus supervisor saves student from choking

Posted: November 17, 2008 10:01 p.m.
Updated: November 18, 2008 4:30 a.m.

West Ranch High School Senior Ashley Mc Sorley was choking on a strawberry-flavored Pixy Stix while watching "2001: A Space Odyssey" during her science fiction appreciation class when she darted from her chair and into the hallway just before lunch Friday.

It was a good thing Campus Supervisor, Josh Hammock, heard Lead Campus Supervisor, Ruta Grupp make the emergency radio call.

Hammock was in the right place, with the right attitude, and the right training at the right time. And not a moment too soon.

Hammock sprang into action.

"I was at the front gate ... ," Hammock said. "I heard the call on the radio that a student wasn't breathing and I dropped the clip board and ran."

Grupp, Anna Kassin and Assistant Principal Secretary Martha Hernandez were holding Mc Sorley upright. Campus Supervisor substitute, Michelle Sparrow assessed the situation.

Hammock made a quick assessment as he urgently rounded the corner. Mc Sorley's face was bright red, her hands were a different color than her arms and her knees were bent and weak.

"I could see (the ladies) were holding her up. I could see Ashley's knees were weak because they were bent. I knew she wasn't standing on them, Hammock said. "It is something where you don't actively think about what you are doing. You just think quick and take action."

Remembering the safety training he took during his athletic career and the training of his father, a retired police officer, Hammock took control.

A few abdominal thrusts and about three seconds later, Mc Sorely was relieved of the pixy dust and berry-tainted saliva in her throat.

"I was very thankful," she said. "The movie was boring."

Health Assistant Kathy Cooper and Lead Campus Supervisor Yuleth Beatty arrived on scene and escorted Mc Sorely to the health office.

When Mc Sorley's grandmother Sherry Caudle heard Ashley proclaim her choking episode was no big deal, Caudle knew something was wrong.

"Ashley didn't sound right. She was talking raspy and slower. I know how my granddaughter walks, talks, sits and what her facial expressions mean. She can't hide from me," Caudle said.

So Caudle called Cooper asking exactly what happened.

After Cooper explained the situation, Caudle was overwhelmed with appreciation for the high school crew.
"If Josh would not have been there when he got there, it would have been a whole different scene. And it would not have been good," Caudle said. "Two minutes later she could have been dead. If it was not for the attentiveness of this whole group of people, this could have been a very dark (day.)"

Though eating in class is against school rules, Assistant Principal Bryan Wilson said Mc Sorely will not be getting any further punishment.

"What she learned from this experience is all the behavior modification I think she needs," Wilson said.
Training for such occasions is indispensable.

"We go through this training and hope that when this kind of thing happens it will kick in," Wilson said. "And that is exactly what has happened here. We are very proud of our staff."

Hammock said he is also thankful to God and his parents for giving him the training he needed to do his job well.

Mc Sorely recovered from her choking episode, met her boyfriend, senior Adam Mogul for lunch and went to work that afternoon as scheduled.

"It really was no big deal," Mc Sorely said. "I recovered perfectly. I was perfectly fine after it was over."
Hammock will be honored with a school district commendation Dec. 10.


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