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Saturday, November 13, 2010

15-year-old Winsted girl saves choking victim

November, 12, 2010

WINSTED — A 15-year-old Laurel City girl has been credited with saving the life of a family friend by using CPR techniques she learned at school.

Morgan Campbell, a sophomore in the Vo-Ag program at Northwestern Regional High School, was home in the kitchen with her mother, Alicia Campbell, and a family friend, Laura Liebenow of Greenfield, Mass., when the three of them received a scare. Liebenow was choking on a piece of a brownie she had just bitten into, and she couldn’t breathe.

“It was pretty scary,” said Liebenow, 25, a nighttime drug store manager who travels to the Campbell residence regularly to participate in dog shows. “We were just laughing and joking around, eating brownies, and I started to choke on one of them. No one realized what was happening at first.”

Morgan’s mother asked Liebenow if she was okay, and Liebenow shook her head. “Alicia grabbed her phone and started to call 911. She said, ‘Stand up — we need to get to you,’ and I couldn’t stand up. Morgan came around from behind the couch and just pushed me forward, so she could get to me. We were freaking out and Morgan was the calmest out of all of us. Had she not been there, I don’t know what would have happened.”

Morgan was able to get her arms around Liebenow and use the Heimlich maneuver to force air out of her windpipe. A chunk of brownie popped out and Liebenow was able to breathe again. She told her mother that she had learned the technique during a demonstration when she was an eighth-grader at St. Anthony School.

“I don’t think she realize realizes how big a deal it was,” said Liebenow. “I didn’t know what to say afterward. This was the first time this has ever happened to me.”

Alicia Campbell, who works as Winsted’s animal control officer and as a dispatcher with the Winchester Police Department, said her daughter acted quickly and maturely.

“She’s 15 years old and she was quicker than I was,” she said. “By the time I was on the 9 she had already dislodged the obstruction.”

Campbell said the short span of time that elapsed may have contributed to her daughter’s sense that the choking episode was a minor event.

“I don’t think she really comprehends that she saved a life,” she said. “She just got up from her chair and went over and did it. It amazed me. People congratulate her and she gets embarrassed.”

Still, friends and family members have been able to see the light side of the situation, asking Campbell when they will be offered a taste of her “killer brownies.”

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