Henry Judah Heimlich, inventor of life-saving Heimlich manoeuvre, passed away on 17 December 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. He was 96.
Heimlich had graduated from New Rochelle High School in 1937. He earned a BA degree from Cornell University in 1941. He received his M.D. from the Weill Cornell Medical College in 1943.
Heimlich also invented the Micro Trach portable oxygen system for ambulatory patients. He was also the inventor of the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve, which drains blood and air out of the chest cavity. The valve’s design allows air and blood to drain from the chest cavity in order to allow a collapsed lung to re-expand.
What is Heimlich manoeuvre?
- Heimlich first published his views about the manoeuvre in an informal article in Emergency Medicine titled Pop Goes the Cafe Coronary in June 1974.
- On 19 June 1974, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that retired restaurant-owner Isaac Piha used the procedure to rescue a choking victim, Irene Bogachus, in Washington.
- From 1976 to 1985, the choking-rescue guidelines of the American Heart Association and of the American Red Cross taught rescuers to first perform a series of backblows to remove the Foreign Body Airway Obstruction (FBAO). If backblows failed, then the rescuers learned to proceed with the Heimlich maneuver.
- After American Heart Association conference in July 1985, backblows were removed from choking-rescue guidelines.
- From 1986 to 2005, the published guidelines of the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross recommended only the Heimlich manoeuvre as the treatment for choking.
- The choking-rescue guidelines published by the American Heart Association in 2005 called the procedure as ‘abdominal thrusts.’
On 23 May 2016, Heimlich used the manoeuvre himself for the second time to successfully save the life of a fellow resident of his senior living community. He had used it for the first time on a man choking in a restaurant when he was about 80 years old.