Choking Victim Saved: When the chips were down casino workers st - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Choking Victim Saved: When the chips were down casino workers stepped up

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VALLEY CENTER (NEWS 8) – A Valley View Casino guest found out that luck counts at more than just gambling.

When a man began choking on his dinner at the steakhouse, three trained and skilled employees stepped up to help, ultimately saving his life.

The guest was sitting in a booth at Valley View Casino’s Black and Blue Steakhouse eating a piece of jumbo shrimp when one got stuck in his throat and he could not breathe.

Surveillance video shows the man’s friend waving for help – catching the attention of other dinners.

Manager Luis Dominguez was across the restaurant and immediately went over after seeing the commotion.

“When he put his hands around this throat – that’s when I realized, uh-oh – he’s choking,” said Dominguez.

Knowing exactly what to do next, Dominguez began performing the Heimlich maneuver on the man.

“I turned him around, I have him a thrust – maybe a minute of so – and at the beginning it was helpful, but you could tell he was losing conscious. He started getting heavier and heavier and heavier,” he said.

The victim was about six-foot-four and about 240 pounds. Somehow, Dominguez found the strength to hold him up and continue thrusts to try and force the food out.

“I guess it was just adrenaline kicking in at the moment. You don’t think about it. You’re just trying to save someone’s life and help them, and that is what I did,” said Dominguez.

About a minute later, Corporal Tre Harper came into the restaurant and took over. He had just finished his EMT training a few days earlier.

“Valley View trains us really well here. As far as first responding goes, we have CPR training, abdominal thrust training and things of that nature,” he said.

Corporal Harper said he quickly realized it was not going to be easy and simple like in training. He was joined by another Valley View officer, TJ Albergo.

“Once Tre got fatigued, that’s when we swapped out and I thrusted and Tre helped hold up the man,” said Albergo.

Valley View employees refused to give up, even after the victim had not been able to breath on his own for more than two minutes.

“At some point [the victim] started breathing shallowly – just the slightest breath and that’s the point when I said, okay I think he will be alright because we have paramedics in route,” said Albergo. 

Paramedics arrived and used a special tool to pull the remaining food out of the man’s throat. He was then taken to the hospital for observation and made a full recovery.

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