Dr. Henry Heimlich, inventor of the famous maneuver to save people from choking to death, has died at the age of 96. Since it was introduced in 1974 it is estimated the Heimlich Maneuver has saved over 100,000 lives in the United States alone. He is also credited with the invention of the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve which saved many soldiers’ lives in the Vietnam War and is still used for patients undergoing chest surgery.
The BBC reports: In a statement released to the media, Dr Heimlich’s family said he had been “a hero to many people around the world”.
“From the time Dad began his medical career in New York City, to the time he practised as a thoracic surgeon in Cincinnati, he was committed to coming up with simple, effective ideas that helped save lives and significantly improved people’s quality of life,” it said.
In May he used the technique himself to save a woman at his retirement home.
He dislodged a piece of meat with a bone in it from the airway of an 87-year-old woman, telling the BBC: “I didn’t know I really could do it until the other day.”
Hold up… He invented the Heimlich Maneuver in the ’70s and didn’t even use it himself until last May?! How did he test it, then? I know he had to have done experiments to find out if the Heimlich worked, but the way it was phrased it makes me think he just one day thought “You know what could save someone’s life? A really violent hug from behind.”
Well, as long as it works, I guess.
Dr. Heimlich died in Cincinnati after complications a heart attack Thankfully he dodged the irony of dying from choking on something. You know that man spent a good chunk of his life carefully chewing his food to avoid that situation.