Missouri Middle Schooler Saves Fellow Student Choking on Coin

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MISSOURI  --  A Missouri middle schooler is hailed a hero for saving the life of a fellow student.

The rush to leave school and catch up with friends on the bus came to a terrifying halt for Kaelie Burk, as NBC's Jenna Barnes reports. Someone up front was playing with a quarter and tossed it down the aisle.

"It, I guess, happened to land in my throat," said Kaelie.

Austin Medlock was just a couple seats away from Kaelie when he saw her choking.

"What are the chances of that just happening from someone just randomly flipping a quarter," he said. "She stood up and I did that, I gave her the Heimlich."

Kaelie said Austin's quick action saved her life, explaining how the quarter changed angles--clearing her airway--with the boy's help.

"It didn't get the quarter all the way out, but at least she was able to breathe," said Austin.

Doctors removed the quarter after they saw it on her x-rays.

"And that's what the doctors said, if he had not given me the Heimlich, I would not be here," said Kaelie, who now calls Austin her hero.

And now he just might be his mom's, too.

"Austin has autism spectrum disorder, and just to know that he was in tune to what was going on on a rowdy bus is just amazing to me. And he did exactly what you are suppose to," said Jeanie Blizzard.

Medical experts also say people can perform the Heimlich maneuver on themselves by leaning over a table edge, chair, or railing. A few quick thrusts to the upper belly area against the edge. Repeat the motion until the object blocking the airway is dislodged.