Northeast Metro 916 Intermediate School District

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DHH staffer saves student from choking

Staci Estall On Oct. 3, Staci Estall, an itinerant sign language interpreter, saved a student from choking at Woodbury Middle School. 
At lunchtime, Staci heard a paraprofessional asking if a student was choking. She looked over and saw the student gasping for breath and not making any noise. That is when she sprang into action.
“I felt for breathing and found none,” Staci said, as she recalled performing the heimlich maneuver on the student twice to dislodge the food. Staci said her reaction was automatic; she was out of her seat and helping the student before she knew it. Though initially the student was frightened, by the time she left the nurse’s office she was smiling and laughing. 
Staci began her work at Northeast Metro 916 in early 2014 as a substitute sign language interpreter before joining the team full-time later that year. She took American Sign Language (ASL) courses in high school in college and majored in ASL interpreting, although when she started college she initially pursued nursing. She worked in a group home for years, which is where she received first-aid training that prepared her to save a student on that day in early October. “I’m glad I was there and it was a happy ending,” she said.