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article imageDr. Heimlich, 96, performs the Heimlich maneuver on 87-year-old

By Ken Hanly     May 27, 2016 in Health
Cincinnati - Dr. Henry Heimlich, who first described the Heimlich Maneuver in June of 1974, was said to have used the procedure for the first time on a resident of the nursing home where he stays.
Perry Gaines, maitre d' for the Deupree House dining room, ran toward the table when told that a resident was choking. He is trained in the procedure, now usually called abdominal thrusting, and used it at least twice in the two years he has worked at the Hyde Park senior living home. However, when he got to the table Dr Heimlich was behind the woman ready to perform the procedure, so Gaines let him go ahead. It worked. Typically, Gates would have done it but he deferred to Dr. Heinrich. The room, filled with 125 diners, recovered quickly and the meal went on. Patty Ris, 87, who choked on some hamburger, was sitting beside Dr. Heimlich. She said that God must have seated her beside him. Heinrich swims and exercises regularly.
Heimlich told the Cincinatti Enguirer that this was the first time he had actually used the maneuver on a choking person although he had demonstrated it many times. Heimlich has other medical inventions to his credit including the Micro Trach portable oxygen system and the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve or "flutter valve" which drains blood and air from the chest cavity. Heimlich's career has not been without controversy with some critics accusing Heimlich of fraud, including one of his own four children, Peter. Peter Heimlich is a former Cincinnati elected official but became a conservative Christian talk-show host. His website deals with what he describes as his father's "wide ranging, unseen 50-year history of fraud." This appears to be a bit of a family feud. The Heimlich maneuver is not a fraud. However, Heimlich does appear to have promoted his technique for areas that it was not suitable and also promoted research on alternatives that were not objective.
Heimlich promoted the technique to be used to rescue people from drowning but by 2005 rescue guidelines for the American Heart Association did not cite Heimlich's work and even warned against using abdominal thrusting during a drowning rescue as unproven and even dangerous. The Association cited a link between its use and vomiting that could lead to death. In 2003 Heimlich's colleague, Dr. Edward Patrick, issued a press release claiming that he was an un-credited co-developer of the Heimlich maneuver saying:"'I would like to get proper credit for what I've done...but I'm not hyper about it.' Perhaps this release explains why the procedure is now called abdominal thrusting. It would seem too that Dr. Heimlich's memory may be failing a bit as this was the second time at least that he used the technique on a choking person: " He told the BBC in 2003 that he had used it for the first time on a man choking in a restaurant when he was about 80 years old."
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