SPRINGFIELD — A freshman Republican state representative is calling a Democratic senator a “hero” for successfully performing the Heimlich maneuver on him after he choked on food at a reception.
State Rep. Mike Murphy, R-Springfield, said state Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, intervened after noticing he was in distress.
Murphy said he stopped by the gathering Wednesday at the President Abraham Lincoln Springfield, a DoubleTree by Hilton put on by pipe trades unions. He took a bite of a roast beef slider and “it immediately lodged in my throat.”
“I walked over, grabbed some water, tried to swallow,” Murphy said. But he “couldn’t swallow at all and was panicking. I turned and looked, and everybody had their back to me. Then I turned the other way, and Senator Hastings was walking in the door, and I frantically waved at him. He came over and performed the Heimlich on me twice and got the food to come up. So I got some good help from a good Democrat.”
Hastings said Thursday that as he walked into the reception, “I noticed that Representative Murphy was sort of struggling a little, and I asked him, I said, ‘Are you choking?’”
Murphy made a noise that indicated to Hastings the problem was indeed choking.
Hastings, a former U.S. Army captain who played football at West Point, served in Iraq and on the borders of Iran and Syria and is trained in advanced combat life saving, said he administered the Heimlich maneuver.
“I lifted him off the ground, and little did I know that he was choking on a piece of steak, and it came out,” Hastings said, saying he also gave Murphy “a good swat on his back” as part of the throat-clearing maneuver.
“I’m just really happy that I was there,” he said.
Hastings has worked on a get-to-know-farming program with the Sangamon County Farm Bureau, and Hastings and Murphy had met at a farm bureau convention in Chicago.
“I thanked him several times last night,” Murphy said Thursday. “But I went into his office today because I wanted to make sure his staff knew that he was a hero in my book. We talked. We had a nice time.”
“That guy’s such a nice guy,” Hastings said of Murphy. “It’s sort of an embarrassing moment, especially in a public setting, and you don’t wish that on anybody.”
But, Hastings also said, “I think anybody would do that for anybody. It’s just the right thing to do.”