Off-Duty BPD Officer Applies Life-Saving Heimlich Maneuver to Choking Man in Roslindale: About two weeks ago, off-duty Boston Police Officer Peter Cazeau had just walked into the Kentucky Fried Chicken on American Legion Highway when he found himself face-to-face with an imposing gentleman in need of immediate life-saving attention. Said Cazeau, “I was standing in line ready to order when I see this guy, a big guy about 6’2” tall, running towards the counter. At first, I thought he was a disgruntled customer looking to complain about his order. But, then, I realized this guy needed help.” Cazeau quickly and keenly ascertained that the man, later identified as 45 year-old Alexander Lisek of Roslindale, was holding his hands up to his throat, using the universal sign for choking, to signal his distress and need for help. And, once he identified and fully understood the gravity of the situation, Cazeua says his CPR training kicked in immediately. Said Cazeau, “Shout out to Jane Sheehan at the Boston Police Academy because the training she provided and has provided to so many over the years kicked in right away.” Channeling Jane Sheehan, a retired Boston EMT who provided CPR training to countless BPD Recruits during her time spent at the Boston Police Academy, Cazeau instinctively wrapped his arms around the choking man and began administering the Heimlich maneuver.
In short time, Mr. Lisek regained his breath after regurgitating a chicken bone that had lodged in his throat. After guiding Mr. Lisek to a nearby chair, a relieved Cazeau asked him if he was okay and, not surprisingly, was thrilled when he heard the following six words, “Thank you. You saved my life.” Said Lisek, “That’s exactly what I said. There is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Officer Cazeau. He absolutely saved my life.” Said Cazeau, “Whether you’re off-duty or on, you can’t underestimate the power of hearing those six words. It was an incredibly gratifying moment. And, honestly, I just feel fortunate I was in the right place at the right time to help.” Offered Lisek, “I’m just so glad he was there. Everybody else seemed frozen. Not sure what to do. But, not him. He stepped up and saved my life.”
In closing, Cazeau says he doesn’t consider himself a hero and he most assuredly believes there are hundreds of police officers who would have done the exact same thing, but, he did have one piece of advice. Said Cazeau, “Whether you’re a police officer or civilian, anybody can do what I did. But, clearly, being familiar with the Heimlich and knowing the universal sign for choking made all the difference.” Officer Peter Cazeau, a 23-year veteran of the department, is currently assigned to the BPD’s Crime Scene Response Unit.