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Karis Arce

American Medical Response
San Francisco, California

Unlike many students working their way through college, Karis did not push the easy button when it came time to choose a job. Not only did she decide to become an EMT while attending school, she also chose to work in AMR’s San Francisco operations, one of the busiest EMS systems in the state.
On July 11, 2017, around 8:30 p.m., Karis was completing paperwork inside the ambulance while parked outside a local ER when she observed a woman approaching quickly carrying a one-year-old child. The boy had choked on a piece of cantaloupe, was not moving or talking, and his lips had started turning blue.
Karis’ training immediately kicked in and she jumped into action, moving first to back blows to attempt to dislodge the blockage, then chest thrusts and finally to finger sweeps, which ultimately dislodged the cantaloupe. The child immediately took a deep breath in, started crying, and regained his color. Karis said it was the most beautiful cry she had ever heard.