Duncan Garner saves son from choking on bacon

  • Updated
  • 12/06/2017

Duncan Garner has recounted the "dreadful experience" of his young son choking on food and not knowing how to save him.

The AM Show host said both he and six-year-old son Buster knew how bad things could have got after the boy ate a piece of bacon without first cutting it.

They'd gone to a café after Buster's rugby league game on Saturday: "he was starving, he's always hungry".

"We got some breakfast and there was some bacon and he was putting the bacon in his mouth, really hungry, and we tell him to chop it up, but I hadn't noticed he hadn't and he put it in his mouth and I noticed he was choking.

"He looked at me and I could see, it was just me and him there, mum had gone," he said on Monday.

Garner started "whacking him on the back", but to no avail.

"I didn't know how to do the [Heimlich manoeuvre] and I looked at him...and I thought 'no, not me, don't do this to me.'"

Thinking quickly, Garner reached down his son's throat to pull out a piece of bacon rind.

"Then he coughed and the rest of it came out. His eyes welled up, I gave him some water and we both sat there."

He described the cough as "like winning Lotto", but also thought about what would have happened "if I hadn't have got that bit of bacon loose".

The host then promised to have a segment on the show to show people what to do in those kinds of situations and how to do the Heimlich manoeuvre. 

Following Garner's story, Newshub was sent an email by the son of Henry Heimlich, who invented the technique, saying his dad's manoeuvre wasn't the right way to help someone who is choking.

"First of all would you please convey to Mr Garner that I'm delighted that he and his lad got the better of that bacon?

"Second, Mr Garner may wish to learn that my father's namesake anti-choking treatment ("the Heimlich" aka abdominal thrusts) is not recommended by the New Zealand Resuscitation Council or by St John Ambulance New Zealand," he wrote. 

Instead, chest thrusts are now the recommended method and more effective than abdomincal thrusts.

Since 2002, Peter Heimlich has been actively discrediting his doctor father's work.

"The harm that he's caused overwhelms the good he accomplished," he told ABC News in 2007.