Visiting pastor halts sermon to save woman choking on peppermint

Pastor Brandon Steward poses with the woman whom he said starting choking during his sermon. (Credit: Brandon Stewart)

A pastor, visiting an Alabama church, said he went from preacher to lifesaver when he stopped his sermon to help a woman who seemed to be choking. 

Brandon Stewart, 41, said last Friday he was the guest pastor at Mt. Zion Church in Cottonwood, Alabama. Stewart said he runs New Hope Fellowship Full Gospel Ministries out of Taylorsville, Georgia. 

"I was in the middle of my sermon getting ready to close during the revival they have been having all month when Mrs. Lois Adams stood up choking on a peppermint," he told FOX Television Stations.  

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"I immediately stopped preaching and performed the Heimlich [maneuver] on her," he continued. 

Stewart said he's a former police officer and those skills came into play when he responded to the choking woman. However, he believes a higher power was also in play. 

"Jesus not only allowed me to be in the right place at the right time, but he instantly healed her," he added. 

Steward said Adams was not injured and paramedics didn't need to be call. 

What is the Heimlich maneuver?

The Heimlich maneuver, also known as an abdominal thrust, is a first-aid procedure in which a person must apply pressure between someone else's navel and rib cage in order to dislodge an obstruction in the victim's windpipe, according to the National Library of Medicine. 

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People can perform the Heimlich on themselves or others in the event of choking. 

What to do when someone starts choking

What do I do if I am choking?

  • Do not panic or hesitate to ask for help
  • Call emergency services or 911 immediately
  • It is not recommended that another person drive you to the emergency room, but instead perform first aid as soon as possible

How to help a conscious person choking:

  • Give the person five blows to the back with the palm of your hand and hit the space between their shoulder blades
  • Take your fist and place it above the person's navel and use your other to cover your fist
  • Use your fists and push five times upward
  • Follow these two steps until the foreign object comes out

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How to help an unconscious person choking:

  • You or another person will need to breathe air into the unconscious choker's mouth
  • Pump the person's chest 30 times by placing both of your hands on the center of the person's chest
  • Use your hands and try to go into the person's mouth and retrieve the object they are choking on

Once these steps are done and if the person is not breathing or remains unconscious, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) will need to be performed.

How to perform CPR:

  • Place your two hands in the middle of the person's chest
  • Perform at least 100 chest compressions every minute
  • Lean the person's head back and tilt the chin upwards
  • Blow air into the person's mouth for at least 1 second
  • Continue these steps

FOX News contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.