Henry Heimlich, the doctor who invented a lifesaving anti-choking procedure, died at the age of 96 in December 2016. He had some controversial medical theories, especially during his later years. But the Heimlich maneuver saved countless lives.
“Performing abdominal thrusts involves a rescuer standing behind a patient and using his or her hands to exert pressure on the bottom of the diaphragm. This compresses the lungs and exerts pressure on any object lodged in the trachea, hopefully expelling it.”
The trick about the Heimlich maneuver is that one cannot really practice it on a real person, only a dummy. I learned it at a Red Cross training that I took in high school back in the late 1960s.
On a Sunday in May of 1995, I was in a real funk and had been in a pretty sour mood. I had to go to my ex’s place and get the last of my stuff. Then I had to go visit a choir member in the hospital who was dying. I didn’t bother to go to church for worship and only went to the meal afterward because I promised I would.
This woman, who was over 80 and who I did not know, was off to the side from the dining area, looking as though she were turning blue. Then someone opined that perhaps she might have eaten something. I recalled my training from high school but was worried about perhaps breaking a rib, which I knew could happen.
Still, I utilized it for the first time. After one thrust, some piece of meat came from her mouth and flew at least 15 feet. The pastor at the time – this was in my old church – was always one to come up with a smart-aleck remark. He said to me, “If you see ME choking, just let me die.”
Three years later, when I got the JEOPARDY! Information Sheet that asked for five items that they would use for their “chat cards”. I wrote, among other things about Earl Warren, Rod Serling, mountain climbing, and LPs, “The Heimlich maneuver works!”
Earlier in 2016, Heimlich himself performed the maneuver on an 87-year-old woman seated next to him at the senior community where he lived. The Heimlich maneuver is one of the most used medical procedures used by non-medical personnel.
20 thoughts on “H is for Doctor Henry Heimlich”
You say you utilised the manoeuvre for the first time – you mean there have been others?!
Incidentally, I know you’ll be interested in this, a scientist claims to have proven that the Beatles had no influence on the development of pop music. Mind you, he does have previous on this score.
Performing an abdominal thrust or even several abdominal thrusts upon a choking eighty year old woman does not really appeal to me but hey, each to their own. You were a real hero that day Roger. Well done sir!
I did the Heimlich maneuver on an 78 year old woman choking on a piece of pizza at the first nursing home I worked at, in fact I did it to her twice, as she had two pieces of pizza in her throat, and I am glad I did!
A person who once was unknown and after a certain point never will be forgotten no matter what age we are in ;-0
I’ve never had to resort to this, but apparently, my older daughter did it on her younger sister one day when they were at home having lunch when I was out. Thank God she knew about it!
I did it on one of my dogs once and it worked
Have never been called upon to be a hero(ine) but learned the maneuver way back in the distant past.
Hi Roger! I have always appreciated Dr. Heimlich because his method is one that I feel I could do, if ever needed. I am not as confident, for example, about CPR. Well done for rescuing that elderly woman. I’m thinking your Harried day suddenly felt rather Harmonious with the knowledge that you had saved her life.
Another post filled with great information ~ for H ~ thanks,
Wishing you a Happy Week ~ ^_^
ps. not able to link up as links in reports Amazon internet is down ~
Well done for the rescue team.
Good to learn from here.
Great to know about him! Thank you Roger:)
Well done Roger a hero of our time Arise Sir Roger Green !
Good to know about this doctor.
Learned that one too in my first aid course required at my psychological internship, but never had to perform the Heimlich manoever. I did have to call the ambulance once, because a client had after effects of a surgery. That was on the first day we had a new secretary. Understandably she freaked out, and did not believe me when I told “This never happens!”
My husband a retired Paramedic used this countless times and saved many people.
Well done you, observation and quick thinking. You could dine out on that story;)
I’ve done this once for a patient. It worked.
I have recently renewed my Basic Life Support certificate. We review this every two years. What a great invention!
I knew the maneuvre (fortunately I haven’t had to use it on anyone so far), but I didn’t know, who had invented it. Thank you. I learnt something new today. Actually, as always from your posts. Thanks
This is something I know how to do, but hope I never have to.
There is a part of me that wishes that Dr. Heimlich had choked to death on a chicken bone. But no, that would be an awful thing to think.