As published in Gall's

"In the Line of Duty" (2001)


The Brussels Sprouts Incident
by Mica Calfee, Capt. Irving, TX Fire Dept.

Recently, our Engine Two was called to the scene of a person choking. The MICU, or ambulance, was on the way as well, but the engine arrived a few minutes ahead of them, The first arriving firefighters found a frightening situation at the home of an older couple, where the wife was obviously in respiratory distress.

The lady was really choking. This person was turning blue but moving some air. With just a little assistance the food in her esophagus was dislodged. She coughed up a Brussels sprout and placed it on her plate. Throughout this, the husband seemed unconcerned. Perhaps he was just confident in our ability. After all, he was the one to call for assistance.

When the ambulance arrived, the engine crew had a conscious patient who was feeling much better. Part of our normal routine is to give the paramedics on the MICU a complete history of everything that occurred. There was only one problem. When we came to the part where we showed them exactly what she had choked on, the brussels sprout was not where the old lady had left it. Turning our gaze toward the old man sitting at the table we could see he was still chewing the last morsel of food he could steal from her plate.

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