Lifesaving midwife 'very happy' after using Stanley knife to open choking boyfriend's throat

A midwife who saved her choking boyfriend's life by using a Stanley knife to perform an emergency tracheotomy, says she's very happy he's alive and back to how he was before.

Sarah Glass and Isak Bester were having a barbecue on an isolated beach in Hawke's Bay when Mr Bester started choking on a piece of steak.

"He was starting to change colour and just about to lose consciousness," Ms Glass told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

With Mr Bester's wind pipe blocked, and with medical services far away, Ms Glass made a decision.

"We didn't have a heartbeat. The only heartbeat we had was from doing the chest compressions. That's when I said I was going to cut him," she said. 

She had read about the procedure once in a book called The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook and she had two fellow midwives to help.

"And then I just asked for a Stanley knife."

She showed the scars of Mr Bester's throat where she had made four shallow incisions, the last one into his airway.

She unblocked his airway and paramedics continued treatment when they arrived.

"I'm very happy that Isak's alive, and very happy he is who he was before," Ms Glass said.

Mr Bester, who's the manager of the Hastings cemetery and crematorium, is grateful to his girlfriend for saving his life.

"Really into her. She's a good person," he said.

Seven Sharp said other people should not try the emergency operation at home and pointed out Ms Glass is a trained medical professional.

Sarah Glass, a midwife, performed an emergency tracheotomy using a Stanley knife. Source: Seven Sharp