Heroic woman slices boyfriend's throat open after he chokes on steak

We all like to think that in an emergency we would be the calm and collected person whose quick-thinking saves the day. But the truth of the matter is that, when it comes down to it, no one knows exactly what they would do when a case of life or death presents itself.

Luckily for New Zealander Izak Bester, he can always count on his girlfriend Sarah Glass to pull through and keep him safe. After all, Sarah is the woman responsible for saving his life just this week - in one of the most horrifying ways possible.

Izak was having a BBQ with his partner and a group of friends at a farm near Waimarama Beach, Hawke's Bay, when a piece of steak meat became lodged in his throat and he suddenly started choking. Realising that the situation was urgent, Izak's friends tried the Heimlich manoeuvre; however, this did not help the situation and resulted in the 50-year-old passing out.

Izak Bester Credit: Stuff

Knowing that her boyfriend - who had turned blue and then purple - was rapidly running out of time, midwife Sarah knew that there was one thing she had to do. Moments after Izak's heartbeat stopped, Sarah made a risky split-second decision, grabbing a Stanley knife and jamming the blade into his throat.

Although it may initially sound as if Sarah was doing more harm than good, the small incision, just below her boyfriend's Adam Apple, was an emergency tracheotomy, a surgical procedure designed to open a direct airway through an incision in the windpipe. Incredibly, her heroic actions gave Izak the oxygen he needed in order to survive the suffocation.

Immediately after, the group of friends went into full "emergency mode" and calmly went about trying to save their friend's life, using a home birth kit with an oxygen tank to keep the oxygen flowing to the 50-year-old's brain. Amazingly, Izak, who was in an induced coma for nearly three days and kept in hospital for another week, survived the incident.

However, doctors told him if it weren't for the oxygen, he would have suffered brain damage or organ failure, if he had lived at all.

Sarah Glass Credit: Facebook

A tracheostomy is a risky, high-stress procedure normally performed in an operating room under general anaesthesia; but Sarah told Stuff that she knew that she either had to cut her partner's throat open or risk losing her boyfriend for good.

"We had no choice - it was do that or he was dead," she said. "I think anyone could do it if they're looking at someone they care about and it's the only thing that will keep them alive."

Izak has hailed the courageous actions of his partner, naming her a "hero". The Hastings crematorium and cemetery manager said: "She's definitely a hero - it's pretty amazing but if I died or been brain damaged she would have carried that for the rest of her life. But she said it was a no-brainer because I was dead already." In addition, he was full of praise for his other friends, saying: "They just never gave up - they did CPR for 30 minutes."

I think we can all agree that Sarah and all of the people involved in saving Izak's life are true heroes who refused to give up in the face of adversity. We certainly wouldn't mind having them having them around in an emergency.