A quick-thinking Mason teacher is being credited with saving a student’s life.
When Dan Little, a science teacher at Mason Middle School, called on student Colin Culp, he wasn’t expecting a life-or-death situation would ensue.
The Enquirer’s Michael D. Clark has more details on this incredible story:
Colin, 12, was startled by Little’s query and drew in a quick breath as he gave a brief, one-word answer.
Unfortunately, the seventh grader had been day dreaming, chewing on part of an ink pen that quickly lodged deep in his throat, leaving him shocked and gasping for air.
Little’s routine classroom session instantaneously turned into a life or death emergency for the young boy.
Little watched from across the classroom as the boy’s eyes widened in panic.
“I asked him ‘are you choking?’ but Colin couldn’t answer,” Little recalled.
The 29-year-old father and former assistant football coach was no stranger to recognizing and helping injured students. He scrambled across the classroom toward Colin while yelling for another student to call the school’s office with the emergency.
The muscular 5-foot 9-inch, 185-pound teacher quickly grabbed the 70-pound boy from behind. Lifting Colin from his desk chair, Little wrapped his arms around the boy, applying his fists in the proscribed Heimlich maneuver used to save choking victims.
What Little didn’t know was that Colin hadn’t accidentally ingested a smooth plastic pen cap but rather the inch-plus, coiled spring from a disassembled pen that he had been playing with in his mouth.
Despite Little’s pushing a dozen, rapid thrusts into Colin’s diaphragm, nothing was being expelled but some of the boy’s recent lunch.
Then some time around the 20th thrust, the boy sharply inhaled and began breathing.
The pen spring, which Colin now sheepishly admits he had no business putting anywhere near his mouth, was dislodged, not out but down into stomach.
Colin’s mother was overwhelmed by Little’s quick-thinking heroics.
“If it weren’t for his quick actions, quick thinking and ability to be calm enough to do what he did, Colin may be in a lot worse shape or not here at all,” said Lisa Culp. “I am so grateful to him for saving Colin.”
A Mason EMS team – returning from a run in the Warren County neighborhood – arrived in minutes. Paramedics tended to Colin’s sore throat and advised him that the tiny spring will likely pass through his digestive tract.
Days later and it’s all a good laugh between student and teacher
Little smiled and said “I think that’s the last we’ll see of that pen spring.”
To which the quick-witted Colin laughed and added “as a spring anyway.”
He then confessed “I still write with a pen, but I don’t take them apart anymore.”