When I was an EMT-I back in college, I learned how to intubate an unresponsive patient, but tracheotomies (cricothyrotomy) were beyond my scope of practice (it was a paramedic skill). I am not sure about the rules in NZ, but I would be pretty sure it wouldn’t be a typical part of a midwife’s training either. However, when Sarah Glass saved her boyfriend’s life recently, it was actually the second time she had performed the maneuver in her life.
From Daily Mail UK:
‘After about eight minutes we were no longer getting air into him. The piece of steak had moved, so he was now turning a very nasty shade of purple and he was dying in front of us,’ she said.
The Hawke’s Bay woman yelled out if anyone had a sharp object to puncture a hole in his windpipe.
‘I can’t get air in him – I’m going to have to cut him,’ she said.
Ms Glass was handed a Stanley knife blade and cut underneath his Adams apple.
‘I felt relief when I was handed the blade,’ she said.
The midwife said when he began choking everyone was following orders to save her partner’s life.
She preformed a tracheotomy on her partner, a procedure she had studied in her 20s, and used a syringe from a home-birthing kit to keep the airway open.
The off-duty midwife then used an oxygen tank which was also in her kit to bring him back to colour.
Twenty minutes later a paramedic arrived and Mr Bester was airlifted to hospital 30 minutes after he began choking.
I find it slightly ironic that this is being reported in a UK paper, where the only ones carrying knives are the criminals. A person could die while people are trying to find a knife in polite company. New Zealanders are apparently made of slightly stouter stuff than those back in the Mother Country.