Teachers and other pupils at Golden Isles Elementary School are calling Molli-Malone Wommack a hero.
Molli was eating lunch Wednesday in the school cafeteria when she noticed a classmate clutching her throat and her face turning purple.While other children sitting at the table ran to get a teacher, the 7-year-old second-grader knew exactly what was happening and how to handle it.
“I saw her put her hand over her throat and thought, ‘Oh, my God, she’s choking,'” Molli said some six hours after performing the life-saving Heimlich maneuver.
“I stood up, went behind her, reached around her waist and pushed on her stomach and the food came out.”
By the time teachers arrived, Molli said her classmate was a little shaken, but breathing normally and in good spirits.
“She kept saying I am an American hero,” Molli said.
Molli was asked to go to the school nurse’s office after the incident to explain what had happened. The school nurse is Kelli Wommack, Molli’s mother and the person who taught her daughter the Heimlich maneuver two years ago.
“They said she just got up and did it,” Kelli Wommack said. “She just responded. I was quite proud of her.”
Wommack said the girl her daughter helped, who was not identified because of school confidentiality rules, choked on a spoonful of corn. “Anything can choke you,” she said.
Molli said her mother taught her the Heimlich maneuver, named for a Cincinnati surgeon who developed it 40 years ago to prevent suffocation from choking, and CPR when she was 5 years old because it’s something everyone should know.
“If somebody was choking, my mom said I needed to know what to do,” Molli said. “It could happen anywhere.”Still, Molli says she never expected she would ever perform the life-saving procedure on anyone, especially at her young age.
Molli says she was the talk of the school among classmates after word spread about her response to a friend choking. “Everybody heard about it,” Molli said.Kelli Wommack says her daughter is proud she was able to help someone in distress.
As a reward, Molli says she hopes she gets mentioned on her school’s daily morning show broadcast.
Molli says she plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a nurse when she grows up.