When you're choking, time is of the essence.
"You have four minutes or five minutes tops," Dr. Keith Johnson, a pediatrician in Venice, said.
And when CPR and the Heimlich maneuver fail, some physicians including Dr. Johnson are turning to a new product called Lifevac, as a way to stop choking. "It should be CPR, back slaps, Heimlich maneuver, and this is your next tool," Dr. Johnson said. Weighing in at a few ounces without batteries or moving parts, the device is simple to use.
"Create a seal on their face by firmly holding and pushing down," Dr. Johnson said while demonstrating Lifevac on a patient. "Then pull up hard. Turn the body immediately, opening the airways and sweeping out the hot dog or toy."
Recently a seven-year-old boy choked on his lunch in a cafeteria in Arizona and later died.
Jane Mascola who is featured on the Lifevac website has a mother who suffers from multiple sclerosis and survived a traumatic choking experience that left her unconscious.
"My heart basically just sunk," Mascola said. "I was devastated because I knew that at any moment, my mom possibly could die by choking on a piece of food."
Now she keeps Lifevac by her bed.
"It makes me more relaxed," Anne Kalyvas, Mascola's mother, said. "Gives me some peace of mind."
Her family considers her one of the lucky ones.
"That's just an absolutely senseless way to die," Mascola said.