A HERO nurse saved her boss's life when he was just moments from death after choking on a piece of steak pie.

Tia Brandon was at work at VetSavers, in The Broadway, Debden, when she heard Dr George Malynicz violently coughing in the surgery and saw he had turned blue.

The 25-year-old had only ever seen the Heimlich manoeuvre performed once on television but quickly sprung into action.

Without a second thought, she began performing the abdominal thrusts until the vet coughed up the pie crust obstructing his windpipe.

By pure chance, Tia, who lives in Chigwell, was only in the surgery at the time because she had delayed her own lunch break.

Dr Malynicz believes he would have died had it not been for Tia's quick-thinking and impressive actions.

He said: "I left my clinic to go to the supermarket to buy my lunch. I bought a meat pie, which I heated in the microwave at work. I sat down in the office, took a bite and instantly couldn’t breathe.

“I tried coughing and exhaling strongly and banging my chest and abdomen hard. I could see my life rushing away before me.

“I sprung into the corridor where Tia saw immediately I was in trouble.

“I indicated that I couldn’t breath and banged my own chest to prompt her to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre. It was important that she realised immediately what was wrong.

“She moved quickly behind me and holding her fists together, she started to squeeze my lower chest sharply. Nothing happened at first and she kept going.

“I felt something moving in my windpipe and leaned forward and managed to cough out a piece of pie crust no bigger than half my little finger. After a few more coughs and splutters and I could breathe.”

He added: "Without a doubt, Tia saved my life. It made me realise how close in life we are to death. Many people either would not know about Heimlich manoeuvre or lack the confidence to do it.

"Some might have called 999 and the ambulance would have arrived to find me dead.”

Tia said the enormity of what she had just done only hit her after she saved George's life.

She said: “I heard George and he came out of the office hitting his chest with his fists. I could tell he was unable to breathe and had turned a weird shade of blue.

“It all happened so quickly and my only thought was that I didn’t want George to die on me.

“I have never performed the Heimlich manoeuvre but I’ve seen it on TV. I just reacted immediately and I was so relieved when George started to breathe again.

"I was shaking afterwards with pure adrenaline as it was quite traumatic.

“Working as a nursing assistant means you are often confronted with tense situations with pets, so I think that helped to keep me calm in an emergency.”