In November, Va’Shawn Robinson reported for work at UT Medical Center, where he is a member of the housekeeping staff. He had no idea he would be a hero that day.
After a welcome reception for new physicians at UTMC, several employees were helping with the cleanup. Susan Arbaugh, who was snacking while she cleaned, began choking on a piece of food.
Robinson said he was standing nearby when he heard someone yell, “Oh my gosh.” He turned around and saw Arbaugh waving her hands in panic.
Robinson said he didn’t know what was wrong until Arbaugh’s color began to change due to loss of oxygen. Knowing there was no time to call for emergency personnel, he took action.
“I quickly ran over and gave two abdominal thrusts, dislodging the food the second time,” he said.
“It all happened so quickly and there was no time to think about it. I’m just glad I could help,” Robinson said.
“It was a very scary experience not being able to breathe, and I am extremely grateful that Va’Shawn was there to help,” said Arbaugh, senior regional outreach liaison for UTMC’s Outreach Department. “His heroic efforts are to be commended; I can’t thank Va’Shawn enough for his quick thinking and immediate action.”
Robinson said he has taken emergency training classes that taught him procedures such as the Heimlich maneuver. However, he never thought he would have to use the skills.
“We are fortunate to have Va’Shawn as a member of the UTMC family,” Arbaugh said.