Twice I have saved people from choking; one adult & one infant, by “performing” the Heimlich maneuver*.
The adult had a huge chunk of hotdog and bun lodged in his throat. We were at a baseball game, so imagine the configuration of stadium seats. He was more than twice my size (him; at least 225-250, over 6’, and me; 5’ 4" and all of 110lbs), sitting immediately next to me, and wearing a big, down-filled vest. It was not easy getting my arms wrapped around him in the first place, let alone from that position, nor was it easy to try to get the guy on his feet. But eventually I guess I’d put enough pressure on his abdomen while trying to pull him up to a more accessible position, and everything came flying out.
The infant was sitting in one of those bouncy seats next to me on the floor, and next to her was her 3-year old brother. We were watching TV and eating popcorn and I happend to catch, out of the corner of my eye, the little boy put some popcorn in his sister’s mouth. Of course she can’t swallow the stuff and starts to choke. I picked her up, flung her face down over my forearm, and bouned her as I ran through the room to get to a phone to call 911. Once again, the pressure, even applied in that manner, was enough to dislodge the obstruction and open her airway.
*The moral of the story is, learn the proper technique(s) in performing the Heimlich maneuver – it could save someone’s life. But if you don’t (or can’t) do it just exactly textbook perfectly (I didn’t know the infant procedure at the time the baby was choking and I simply couldn’t get myself or my hands into the exact right spot with the guy with the hotdog), it can still be effective, so don’t be afraid to try whatever you can.