Chang Meng-yang (張孟揚), 17, learned the value of learning in school when he saved the life of his grandfather, Chang Kuei-chen (張貴珍), who choked on a piece of chicken last week.
Living in Changhua County’s Jhutang Township (竹塘), the 82-year-old Chang Kuei-chen often eats very quickly, usually finishing his meal in under five minutes, his family said.
The habit led to a similar choking incident during a family lunch about six months ago. Fortunately, his daughter-in-law, Liu Hsiu-chin (劉秀金), noticed that he was unwell, stuck her fingers in his mouth and retrieved the piece of food — a meat ball — caught in his throat, the family said.
Chang Kuei-chen was eating lunch alone on Wednesday last week when the second incident occurred.
Chang Meng-yang said he was resting in the room next door recuperating from a recent surgical procedure when he heard a loud thud and rushed out to see what happened.
When he saw his grandfather lying on the floor, he remembered the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques he learned at school and started pressing on his grandfather’s chest.
When that did not work, he switched to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Recalling the previous time his grandfather choked on his food, Chang Meng-yang took out his grandfather’s dentures, reached in with his hand and fished out a chunk of chicken caught in his throat.
Chang Kuei-chen was able to breathe and other family members helped him sit up.
When Jhutang Fire Department firefighters Hsu Cheng-sung (許正松) and Hsu Chia-ho (徐嘉和) arrived on the scene and saw the piece of chicken on which the grandfather choked — just slightly smaller than an egg, complete with skin and bones — they lauded Chang Meng-yang for his quick and efficient response during an emergency.
Chang Meng-yang said he should thank the firefighters who have been promoting and teaching CPR in schools, equipping him with the skills required in an emergency.
When Chang Kuei-chen was taken to Changhua Christian Hospital’s Erlin Township branch for a check-up, the hospital’s medical staff also praised his grandson for taking decisive action during a critical moment.
Chang Tsung-yang (張宗陽), Chang Meng-yang’s father, said that his son is a very considerate and filial young man.
Chang Meng-yang dropped out of school last year and started working at a car manufacturing company to learn a set of skills to earn his keep, Chang Tsung-yang said.
His son often bought gifts for his grandfather and even gave him a red envelope during the Lunar New Year, Chang Tsung-yang said, adding that it was fortunate that Chang Meng-yang, who was recuperating from surgery last month, was home at the time and was able to save his grandfather.