Dr. Henry Heimlich, the former surgeon who invented the lifesaving Heimlich Manoeuvre, used it for the fist time this week in order to save a fellow resident at his care care. Dr. Heimlich has displayed the technique at conventions and on television programmes over the last few decades, but had not used it in an emergency situation.
Heimlich was sitting at the communal dining table at the Deupree House – a residential care home in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, when he noticed fellow resident Patty Ris, 87, in apparent distress whilst eating her hamburger. The 96-year-old former surgeon rushed from his seat, put his arms around Ris, and pressed on her lower abdomen, just below the rib cage.
“After three compressions, this piece of meat came out, and she just started breathing, her whole face changed.
“I sort of felt wonderful about it, just having saved that girl. I knew it was working all over the world. I just felt a satisfaction,” said Heimlich in an interview shared by the spokesman for Duepree House.
Phil Heimlich, Dr. Heimlich’s son, told the Cincinnati Enquirer: “Just the fact that a 96-year-old man could perform that, is impressive.” Ris, the lady whose life was saved, recorded a video interview in which she said: “When I wrote my ‘thank you’ note to him for saving my life, I said, ‘God, put me in that seat next to you, Dr. Heimlich, because I was gone, I couldn’t breathe at all.”
What is the Heimlich Manoeuvre?
The Heimlich Manoeuvre is a basic first aid procedure used to remove blockages from a person’s throat, stopping them from choking on food or other objects. It works by exerting pressure on the lower part of the diaphragm by using abdominal thrusts. This compresses the lungs and forces pressure onto any item caught in the throat, hopefully excelling it.