Sutherland Applies Skills Learned from CSCC to Save a Life

Sutherland Applies Skills Learned from CSCC to Save a Life

Holly Vincent
Tuesday, May 7, 2019 12:00 AM
Academics, Employees, Community, Students

Cleveland State student Brandt Sutherland has a reason to thank his instructor, Dr. Eddy Dye. A few weeks ago, Sutherland was able to apply the lessons he learned from Dye’s Anatomy and Physiology class and perform the Heimlich maneuver saving the life of his best friend who was  choking at the time.

Sutherland was having a night out with friends. They were out to dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse and had plans to go to a movie later that evening. While eating his dinner, he noticed one of his friends had a blank stare on his face. Sutherland said he didn’t think anything of it at the time because the friend will sometimes act sarcastic and make that same face while joking around with his friends. Sutherland continued eating, but when he looked back at his friend, he had that same stare, only this time his eyes had started to water, and his face was turning purple. Sutherland asked if he was choking and proceeded to do the Heimlich maneuver on the friend who had choked on a piece of steak. None of the other friends knew the Heimlich maneuver and relied on Sutherland for help. Luckily, he was able to un-lodge the steak, and then he and his friends continued eating.

“At first, we were just all in shock,” stated Sutherland. “It was a very serious moment at the time, but then we just went back to eating and joking around. I can’t even tell you how long I performed the Heimlich. I guess it was just adrenalin, but afterward, I was just physically and mentally exhausted.”

Dye stated, “I try to tell my students that if an emergency happens, they may be the only one there who has the knowledge to do something about it. Everyone always thinks someone here will know more than I do, and invariably, become paralyzed with fear, but Brandt wasn’t.”

Coincidentally, almost forty years ago, Sutherland’s Anatomy and Physiology instructor Dr. Eddy Dye had been eating in a Memphis pizzeria and had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a choking man, also saving his life. Afterward, people in the restaurant started applying and sending beers to Dye’s table, and he doesn’t even drink!

 The man in the pizzeria had been choking on a piece of mozzarella cheese. To this day as a bonus question on exams, Dye will ask his class, ‘What is my least favorite cheese?’ His classes all know the answer because they have all heard the story.

Unlike Dye’s experience, nobody in the restaurant had even noticed Sutherland perform the Heimlich, or if they had, they chose not to acknowledge it.

Sutherland said, “If we hadn’t just gone over the respiratory system and hand/body placement with the Heimlich, I don’t know what would have happened! None of my friends knew how to do it. It’s nice to have someone like Dr. Dye. I would never have expected that I would ever have to do that, so I feel like I should thank Dr. Dye for everything.”

Dye stated, “It’s a really good feeling when students take their training you have taught them, apply it and put it to use. I told Brandt I have tremendous respect for him. To step out of his comfort zone and be willing to take a chance to save a life, shows so much courage. He is a hero in my book, and I don’t use that term loosely.”

“Never in a million years did I think I would be recognized for this,” stated Sutherland. “But it definitely is a good feeling.”

Sutherland is a 2018 graduate of McMinn Central High School. He will graduate from CSCC next year and has plans to attend either the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga or Tennessee Wesleyan and major in Exercise Science.

Photo cutline: CSCC student Brandt Sutherland and CSCC instructor Dr. Eddy Dye.


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