Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

December 14, 2012


By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — A 9-year-old Centerville girl with no lifesaving training perhaps did exactly that Nov. 27 when she watched her 6-year-old brother choke on a piece of meat.

It was around 6 p.m. Tuesday as Tiffany Mudra, boyfriend Wes Bradley and her two children Kerrigan Peel, 9 and Robert Peel, 6, sat down to eat a pork steak supper. But something went wrong and a hero emerged.

"Robert started choking on his food. He kind of choked first and I told him he needed to slow down," Tiffany said Wednesday, Dec. 12. "And a few minutes later he started choking and I looked up and his little lips were purple and Kerrigan jumped up out of her seat before I could even get over to him and performed the Heimlich maneuver on him. And within a few times of her doing it she got it dislodged."

The resulting scene turned very emotional for both Robert and Kerrigan, Tiffany said, as Robert started crying and vomiting and Kerrigan, almost like in a daze, started crying.

Tiffany said her daughter saved her little brother's life that evening.

"I was scared to death," Tiffany said. "I'm very, very proud of her. I didn't even have any idea she knew how to do it."

Kerrigan, mother and brother visited the Daily Iowegian office Wednesday, Dec. 12 where she talked about that evening.

"It was scary and I didn't know what to do," Kerrigan said. "And I looked over and he was choking and I hurried up and got up and I was there before my mom and I just started the Heimlich maneuver. It was really scary."

Kerrigan said she learned how to do the Heimlich maneuver from watching television.

Robert is doing fine and called his big sister his "hero."

Kerrigan is in the fourth grade and attends Lakeview Elementary in Centerville.

Robert is in the first grade and attends Central Elementary in Centerville.