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RIP Dr. Henry Heimlich, Inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver ( 51

tomhath quotes the BBC: Dr Heimlich died at the age of 96. He invented the lifesaving technique, which uses abdominal thrusts to clear a person's airway, in 1974. 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."
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RIP Dr. Henry Heimlich, Inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver

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  • by Zibodiz ( 2160038 ) on Saturday December 17, 2016 @04:31PM (#53504801)
    RIP. While I don't know much about his life, that one brilliant idea has saved so many lives. That makes him a hero in my books -- and I don't bandie that term about casually.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dutch Gun ( 899105 )

      Absolutely agreed.

      From the article: notable people saved by this maneuver include former President Ronald Reagan, pop star Cher, former New York mayor Edward Koch and Hollywood actors Elizabeth Taylor, Goldie Hawn, Walter Matthau, Carrie Fisher, Jack Lemmon and Marlene Dietrich. An estimated 100,000 people have been saved in the US alone. Heimlich even saved a woman with the technique himself once. He said that he always wondered if he'd be able to perform the maneuver himself.

      It's nice to know his name

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There was a Dollop about him. I didn't know much of anything about him either, but it was definitely worth a listen.

    • RIP. While I don't know much about his life, that one brilliant idea has saved so many lives. That makes him a hero in my books -- and I don't bandie that term about casually.

      Bullshit, His son runs a website debunking the effectiveness of the Heimlich maneuver []. Why risk damaging internal organs without first trying a few good thumps on the back?

      • Why risk damaging internal organs without first trying a few good thumps on the back?

        Because thumps on the back risk dislodging the obstruction when it may be pulled, by gravity or attempted inhalation, further into the airway, lodge more firmly there, and then be UNremovable by the maneuver or other methods that might be applied in time, and/or result in damage to the lung.

        I recall the early days of publicity of the maneuver, when the Red Cross published instructions in which they'd added three sharp thump

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm all choked up over it.
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday December 17, 2016 @05:09PM (#53504967)
    From the Eddie Izzard [] concert, Dress to Kill []:

    The Heimlich Gesture

    Also, if you're in a restaurant and you're choking to death, you can say the magic words, "Heimlich maneuver." If you're just coughing and got some, you say, "Heimlich maneuver," and all will be well. The trouble is, it's very difficult to say "Heimlich maneuver" when you're choking to death. Yeah.

    ( mumbling and coughing )
    "Your hymen’s been removed?"
    "No no. ( more mumbling and coughing )
    "You need it removed? Right"

    I don't know how you remove a hymen... But yeah. No, Heimlich maneuver,developed by Dr. Heimlich who woke up one night, obviously, and went,

    "A fist, a hand, hoocha hoocha hoocha... lobster! Yes, Hilda! Hilda! Wake up, Hilda!"
    "Oh, what is it, Dr. Heimlich?"
    "Why are you calling me Dr. Heimlich? I'm you're husband, for fuck's sake! Loosen up, don't be so bloody Prussian."
    "Well, what is it, Günther?"
    "I have invented a maneuver!"
    "What are you, a bloody tank commander now?"
    "No! My name is going to be famous in restaurants!"

    I don't think he actually did it that way. I don't think it was ( snaps fingers ) a wing and a prayer, I think he must have experimented. He was German, organized.

    ( German accent ) "Ok, Hans, I want you to swallow this golf ball..."
    ( choking and coughing ) “I cannot breath."
    “I know you cannot breath. I will now make you breath with the cunning use of..." ( muffled shot)
    “I still cannot breath."
    "Ok, maybe not, maybe this will ( muffled shot )
    “Jesus fucking Christ!”
    "Ok, then maybe with a frying pan..." Pow!
    ( Hans coughing throughout, as Dr Heimlich smacks him )
    "Must be a combination. No, ok "
    "Ok, two frying pans Frying pan in the bollocks Bollocks stop
    "Frying pan"
    ( Hans collapses to the floor )
    "Oh, he's dead."

    Other doctors are going,

    "How's it coming along, Dr. Heimlich?"
    "Well, not very well at the moment. It's not really a maneuver at the moment. It's more of a gesture."

  • One of those guys I thought long ago. I thought that the Heimlich maneuver was pretty obvious and had to have been invented in a more distant past.
  • I used this on myself and am happy to report that it worked.
    That's the closest to death I've been...

  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Saturday December 17, 2016 @06:41PM (#53505381) Homepage Journal

    Scientist: Man! I was TOTALLY shocked. It actually worked!

    Guinea Pig: What? Do you mean to tell me you didn't KNOW that would work?

    Scientist: Well, I had a theory. But it's nice to see it work in practice.

    Guinea Pig: Oh. I feel SO much better now...

  • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday December 17, 2016 @07:29PM (#53505543)

    The most interesting part of this summary was that he used his manoeuvre the first time in May, on an old lady no less. I mean I get that he invented it but it's interesting to me for two reasons:
    1) The Heimlich is no longer taught and not recommended as a way to stop someone from choking. Instead favouring leaning a person forward and giving them a really hard smack between the base of their shoulder blades.
    2) One of the reason the Heimlich is not preferred is due to the damage it causes to the body ... which old people are especially susceptible of. I'm actually surprised someone at 87 years old survived the manoeuvre.

    In any case this man has saved countless lives. RIP.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday December 17, 2016 @07:47PM (#53505617) Homepage Journal
    Here's [] the story of how the maneuver was developed.
  • I had a friend who used to show off her fellatio skills. While we all laughed, she showed off her skills with a banana, when it broke. Everyone was shocked when the piece lodged and couldn't be coughed out. I gave her the maneuver, which popped out broken banana across the floor. The laughter reignited, and no one died.

  • I'm old now (62), and when I was a kid, the recommended procedure was to slap the choking person on the back. I'm not sure. Do people still do that?

    A separate issue: American schools are so prudish, that when demonstrating the Heimlich maneuver, they never use a cute girl as the choking victim and a guy as the one who applies the procedure.

    • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Sunday December 18, 2016 @09:11AM (#53507575) Homepage

      Slapping is the first stage.

      "Encourage the patient to cough" is also in there.

      But Heimlich - because of the possibility of causing internal damage - is the last resort when, if you don't try it, they are going to die anyway. It's literally the thing you do in the knowledge that if it doesn't work, they're dead anyway and there's nothing more you can do.

      And it's not prudish - demonstrating Heimlich is rife with hands reaching blindly into places and causing damage if you're too rough. It's like CPR (again, last resort), you NEVER actually demonstrate the force of CPR that you would do to a real patient - CPR smashes broken ribs into lungs but that's better than dying.

      As such, demoing with big rough guys on tiny waifs of girls is potentially dangerous, especially if there's larking about.

      As anyone who runs martial arts or first aid clubs will tell you, it's not the experienced people who will hurt you. It's the novice that has no idea the power, extension or force of their movements, and no control over them.

  • Oh man, I was so surprised when I read this headline, that I almost choked on my donut!

  • My friend started choking on a chili dog and I luckily knew what to do. I had to do the Heimlich three of four times, but she spit out an onion chunk and survived! Thanks Dr. Heimlich!

  • The Heimlich Maneuver is so ubiquitous, so famous, that I had just assumed that it had been around for a long time. So long, that I wasn't surprised the inventor had died, I was surprised he just died. If someone had told me that the maneuver was 96 years old, I'd have believed it. Still trying to wrap my head around the idea that it's only a few years older than I - that my parents wouldn't have been able to use it had someone started to choke at their wedding.

    I guess that is a testament to Heimlich's

... when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. -- Fred Brooks