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Inventor of Lifesaving “Heimlich Maneuver” Dies at 96

Henry Heimlich a Jewish doctor that invented the lifesaving Heimlich maneuver died on Friday night in Cincinnati. Dr. Heimlich was head surgeon in Cincinnati Jewish Hospital. He worked very hard to develop a method to prevent death by chocking on food or foreign objects obstructing the windpipe. This was one of the top causes of death in the U.S. He invented the maneuver named after him in 1974.

The Heimlich maneuver consists of standing behind the chocking victim, grabbing one fisted hand with the other and placing it on the victim’s abdomen above the belly button and below the diaphragm. Once in position you pull the fists upwards and inward into the abdomen forcing the diaphragm upwards. This forces air back up into the windpipe with sufficient force to “blow” the obstruction out. A maneuver that seems simple that saved countless lives. His maneuver was published and is taught worldwide as the standard procedure for dislodging obstructions from the windpipe.

Ironically, though Dr. Heimlich demonstrated the maneuver countless times to doctors during his career as a chest surgeon, it was only a half a year ago in May that he actually used it to save someone’s life himself. Eating lunch in his senior living community dining room he noticed a woman with puffed out lips that wasn’t breathing and sprang into action. With over 100 onlookers, he spun the victim around and did his maneuver and the woman coughed out a piece of her hamburger that chocked her.

Last Monday Dr. Heimlich suffered a heart attack, on Friday night he passed away. He saved countless people with this maneuver and many other medical ideas and devices. He always sought to find ways to save more lives. A Hero is gone.


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