Destrehan Animal Hospital employee saves woman’s life

Blayne DeSoto

Blayne DeSoto started her front desk receptionist shift at Destrehan Animal Hospital on Friday in normal fashion, but by the time she drove home that day she had been hailed a hero.

DeSoto, a Luling resident, has been working at the animal hospital for nearly two years. While she has seen many animals’ lives saved at the hospital, last week she was instrumental in saving a human life after a choking woman walked into the building.

“When she first walked in she was facing the clients,” DeSoto said of the woman. “I got up to go bring a chart to the back and I heard the another employee talk to her, but I paused after the woman didn’t respond to us. I stood there for a second … she was hitting the back of her own neck and her mouth and gums were pale … they were white.”

DeSoto said she sprang into action after one of the clients in the lobby started to pat the choking woman on the back.

“I realized that this woman was choking and that I had to help her,” DeSoto said.

DeSoto ran around the desk to the front lobby and began performing the heimlich maneuver on the woman. She said she learned the life-saving move in high school.

“The whole thing was not even thirty seconds,” DeSoto said. “I wasn’t freaking out … I just knew that something needed to be done.”

After sitting in the hospital for 15 minutes and collecting herself, the woman who choked refused any additional medical attention and left.

“I didn’t even think to get her name,” DeSoto said. “She told us that she was in her car at the Ormond light and began choking on her hamburger and couldn’t breathe. She said she looked around and knew people who could help her would be here. She said she had started to get tunnel vision and that she knew God put her in the right place at the right time.”

DeSoto said this experience was the first one in which she had to use the heimlich maneuver.

“This is something that you want to mentally be prepared for, but it’s hard because you never know when it’ll happen,” she said. “We don’t expect these things to happen, but it’s good to be prepared.”


About Monique Roth 919 Articles
Roth has both her undergraduate and graduate degree in journalism, which she has utilized in the past as an instructor at Southeastern Louisiana University and a reporter at various newspapers and online publications. She grew up in LaPlace, where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters.

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