Deputy saves the life of a choking inmate, inmates applaud

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A deputy saved the life of an inmate on the weekend — not from a fight, a stabbing, or some other violent act — but from choking on food at dinner time.

The rescue happened during dinner time on Saturday, when the “life of an inmate almost came to a panicking halt,” according to a news release issued by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

About 150 inmates had gathered in the dining hall when one of the men showed signs of physical distress. His breathing had become obstructed by a piece of food lodged in his throat.

Deputy Carlos Escamilla jumped into action when he heard an inmate call out: “We have a man down!”

Escamilla, who worked chow hall security, looked toward the source of commotion and immediately noticed the inmate displayed signs of extreme distress, the news release said.

“He saw the 36-year-old man gesture he was choking by holding his hands to his throat, and saw his complexion turn purple. Without hesitation, Deputy Escamilla performed the Heimlich Maneuver and administered several abdominal thrusts to dislodge the obstruction,” according to the release.

“The obstacle was ejected and, thankfully, the man began to breathe on his own.  He was able to walk out of the room on his own and was treated by professional medical staff as a precautionary measure.”

“When asked about his reaction to the emergency, Deputy Escamilla said he remembered the Heimlich Maneuver Procedure from training he completed as an LASD Explorer, during his Deputy Sheriff Trainee Academy and during a recent refresher training course,” the news release said.

Inmates watching the lifesaving rescue applauded the deputy for his actions.

“The heroic deputy said the inmate later thanked him for his assistance, but Deputy Escamilla was just glad he and his partners were able to assess the situation and use their training to handle a dire event quickly and successfully,” the release said.

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