Hambrick LOTC student saves sister with Heimlich Manuever

Hambrick student Marisela Lizama is shown with her sister Gabriella.

Teachers can often make their lessons sound like a matter of life and death. In LOTC at Hambrick Middle School, it turned out to be the case. For Hambrick Middle School student Marisela Lizama, being attentive in class allowed her to save her little sister’s life!

“I was watching TV when my sister walked in and pointed to her throat.” Remembers Marisela. Four-year-old Gabriella, with bright brown eyes and a smile that illuminates your heart listens intently as Marisela recalls what happened. “It was clear she couldn’t breath. At first I was scared. But then I remembered the Heimlich maneuver we learned in LOTC at Hambrick”. Sergeant Weaver includes teaching the four basic life saving steps as part of his LOTC curriculum at Hambrick. These include stopping the bleeding, starting the breathing and others.

“In this course we teach the kids how to deal with someone who’s choking.” Said Weaver. Marisela says she was able to remember the lesson because the students practiced on each other when they learned it. “It was different for my sister because she’s only four and she’s smaller. But I was able to lift her from behind a little more gently than I would a full sized person.” At first the choking treatment didn’t work but Marisela kept trying. She didn’t have time to lose. Gabriella couldn’t breath, she needed help and mom (Juanita Lizama) was in the shower. Marisela continued the steps taught at Hambrick Middle School. Tapping the petite four-year-old in the back and again working to dislodge the Lifesaver candy she was choking on. Yes, ironically it was a “Lifesaver”. They can be dangerous for youngsters.

“Finally it came out.” Proclaimed Marisela. “I was so scared I started crying.” But she was grateful too!

Today Gabriella is a walking ray of sunshine, thankful that her big sister was listening in class the day Sergeant Weaver trained his cadets in First Aid, thankful that Marisela not only listened that day but had the maturity of an adult to use that lesson properly and calmly.

She’s thankful that she’s alive, ready to live out the rest of her childhood and maybe someday take that same life-saving lesson.

As for Juanita, Gabriella and Marisela’s mother, she’s as proud as can be. Marisela wants to be a trauma surgeon when she grows up. Her mom is confident that Marisela will realize her dream. Make room at Ben Taub or Hermann Hospital. We can always use more good doctors in Houston’s top emergency rooms.