By Christine Lavelle
A SECURITY guard at Heriot-Watt University who saved a toddler from choking to death on a hot dog has been hailed a hero.
Two-year-old Jess Shearer had fallen unconscious at the nursery she attends on the university’s campus in Edinburgh, when Dave Love rushed to the scene and dislodged the piece of food, and managed to resuscitate her before paramedics arrived.
Since the ordeal, Mr Love has been honoured with an award from the university’s principal, Professor Steve Chapman, who declared the father-of-two’s actions as “quick, decisive, professional and instinctive”.
The little girl’s mum, Maggie Shearer, who works for the university’s academic registry service, praised Mr Love, 39, for his quick thinking.
Mrs Shearer, 41, was standing behind her daughter when she started choking, and said Jess’ situation was made worse because at the time she had a throat infection which meant her tonsils were enlarged.
She said: “The hot dog had been cut up into pieces but she had never had one before and had never experienced the texture and I think it just slipped down her throat.
“It was a combination of that and the enlarged tonsils and throat infection.
“Everyone did everything they were supposed to but she wasn’t responding to first aid.
“I was in a state of disbelief and shock.
“When Dave Love heard what happened he drove over here and was first of the security team on the scene.
“He dislodged the food and gave her first aid in terms of resuscitating her and looking after her.
“By the time the paramedics arrived she was breathing again and crying.
“I’m absolutely chuffed to bits that Dave’s been honoured by the university for what he did.
“It says a lot about the university to recognise somebody in what was an individual, private matter and give them an award.”
Professor Chapman presented Mr Love with the award for “pursuing excellence”, as part of the annual Spirit of Heriot-Watt Awards.
Jess spent three days in hospital following the incident at Pinocchio’s Nursery in June, but made a full recovery.
Mr Love is fully trained in first-aid and said he was delighted to have his efforts recognised.
He said: “I have given a lot of first aid but that was the first time I have ever saved a life and it’s quite scary to think about it, with it being a child.”