June 17th, 2013
05:17 PM ET
1 year ago

Heimlich maneuver saves congressman's life

(CNN) – A congressman from Texas had quite the scare after choking on a piece of popcorn the other day.

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, was eating Thursday at the Capitol Hill Club–a Republican hangout in Washington–when the popcorn became lodged in his throat, his spokeswoman, Shaylyn Hynes, confirmed Monday.

Not able to breathe, a fellow Republican congressman, Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon, and another stander-by tried to do the Heimlich maneuver but failed to dislodge the food stuck in his throat.

As first reported by National Review, the two called 9-1-1 and shouted for a doctor. That's when Republican aide Nick Muzin, a licensed physician, came over to help.

Whlie Muzin performed the Heimlich, Salmon gave black blows–hard hits to the back–to Poe. After a few attempts, they were able to nudge the popcorn out, allowing Poe to begin coughing, witnesses said.

“The congressman’s glad that Judge Poe is OK," Kristine Michalson, Salmon's communications director, said.

Hynes was not able to confirm exactly how long Poe, 64, was unable to breathe. Witnesses said the situation was looking serious, as the food was stuck for several minutes.

Hynes said Poe was "completely fine" after the incident and finished his dinner at the club. Laughing it off, Poe told her he started to choke after hearing the score of the Congressional baseball game that night, when Democrats bested Republicans, 22-0.

Muzin, the coalitions director for the House Republican Conference, got his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University and his law degree from Yale University. He formerly served as a health care policy adviser and chief of staff to Republican Tim Scott, who is now senator from South Carolina, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He still practices medicine in Charleston at a clinic that provides medical care to uninsured adults.

As for Poe, the congressman spent the weekend in Texas but returns to Washington Monday to vote, Hynes said.


Filed under: House
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. jb1963

    Does he have to pay a co-pay or is it on the HOUSE.

    Hope it was a kernel of conscience and he starts to actually work for a living.

    June 17, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. Mike Buck

    And who says Obama Care isn't working?

    June 17, 2013 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  3. Former GOP

    .see what happens to a GOP when he orders .............TRUTH............

    June 17, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  4. MAtty Metta

    I've used the Heimlich twice. Both times on the same friend. The hardest part of the entire situation is realizing that someone is choking! Many times they don't think to use the universal sign of hands to the throat. At times, that are embarrassed and run from the room. Be observant!
    (I actually had to do it to one of my pet dogs too, but he didn't like it so much. So I had to reach down and pull a bit of bone out of his throat...something your should never do, but Heimlich wasn't working.)

    June 17, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  5. granola girl

    Wow. That third paragraph, consisting of one sentence, with made up words and the mumbo-jumbo of people involved, is pretty crazy.

    June 17, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  6. janeqcitizen

    Everyone needs to know the "abdominal thrust" AKA as the Heimlich & CPR. On the lighter side-most Americans probably didn't know politicians stopped talking long enough to eat anything. And let's not forget what Mom always tried to get us to do-don't talk with your mouth full.

    June 17, 2013 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  7. Jaimie

    Learning this will help many lives. Kudos to those who help Mr. Poe.

    June 17, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  8. late nite bound

    SNL will have fun with this one on Saturday......

    June 17, 2013 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  9. sunnyjim

    if he was armed that never would have happened

    June 18, 2013 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  10. Accuracy anyone?

    Be nice if they would just proof read their articles
    "He was able to successfully administer the Heimlich a few times to nudge the popcorn out, allowing Poe began to begin coughing, witnesses said."

    June 18, 2013 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  11. tax payer

    IN THE NAME OF NATIONAL SECUIRTY we must regulate popcorn distribution as a theat

    June 18, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  12. Buddha

    How the hell do you choke on a piece of popcorn?

    June 18, 2013 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  13. rc

    Bravo to everyone who jumped in. Many people wouldn't either out of ignorance of what to do or fear.

    June 18, 2013 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  14. kevin

    At least he was saved

    June 18, 2013 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  15. Toltec1

    Wow! I find it amazing that anything as small as as a kernel of popcorn could block the air intake and output of a U.S. politician. I had always imagined, going by the way they are constantly spewing hot air, that their lungs had the force and thrust of a Saturn V rocket engine. I'm glad the congressman survived, but can't help but wonder what would have happened if he had not been able to breathe for just a few minutes more. Maybe some brain change that would prove to be constructive to the governing of this country? I do not wish ill on anyone, but I do hope for change of perception. Peace

    June 18, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
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