Doctor who invented ‘Heimlich maneuver’ uses the move for the first time to save choking woman

  • The inventor of the Heimlich maneuver uses the move for the first time to save a woman
  • Dr. Henry Heimlich first created the procedure in 1974 
  • Now 96, he has given demonstrations but it was the first time he used it in an actual emergency

Dr. Henry Heimlich, the man who created the so-called “Heimlich maneuver” in order to save someone from choking, used this move for the very first time after more than 40 years since he invented it.

Heimlich, who is now 96 years old, was having a meal at the senior living community center Deupree House in Cincinnati, Ohio, when he noticed that the woman sitting next to him was starting to choke.

He then followed the procedure he set out decades earlier. First, he reached his arms around the choking woman’s body, grasped his left fist under his right hand right above the rib cage above the bellybutton, and then thrust quickly upwards.

It was at that moment that after first inventing the move in 1974, Dr. Henry Heimlich successfully used the Heimlich maneuver to save someone’s life. While he has demonstrated how to perform the procedure so many times, it was only the first time that he actually had to do it in an emergency situation.

“It was very gratifying. That moment was very important to me. I knew about all the lives my maneuver has saved over the years and I have demonstrated it so many times but here, for the first time, was someone sitting right next to me who was about to die,” he told the Guardian.

Meanwhile, the 87-year-old Patty Gill Ris, the woman Heimlich saved, coughed out a piece of hamburger. She says she is thankful to the doctor for literally saving her life.

“Oh gosh am I lucky that I sat there. And God put me right there at that table right next to Dr. Heimlich. Thank this wonderful man for saving my life,” Ris told CNN.

The United States National Safety Council estimates that up to 3,000 people die annually choking on their food. The maneuver is believed to have saved up to 50,000 lives since it was developed.