Dr. Heimlich Claims He Personally Rescued Choking Victim - Chicago Sun-Times, 10/7/01

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Mar 19, 2008, 10:16:12 AM3/19/08
Yes, There Really is a Dr. Heimlich And He's Pushing More Uses for his
Famous Maneuver

by Jim Ritter, Chicago Sun-Times, October 7, 2001

Twenty-six years after inventing the Heimlich maneuver, Dr. Henry
Heimlich finally had an opportunity to try it himself.

Heimlich was having lunch last year when he was urgently called to the
side of a man choking on his food. Heimlich wrapped his arms around
the man and made a fist against his upper abdomen. He thrust upward
and out popped the food. Another life saved.

"I just did it and went back to eating," Heimlich said.

Heimlich said anyone could have done it. Indeed, the maneuver is easy
enough for a child to perform. For example, Heimlich recently attended
an awards dinner in Rosemont that honored a 10-year-old Cicero boy who
used the maneuver to save his step-brother.

Fabian Marquez, who learned the maneuver in school, performed it on
his stepbrother Raul Torres, who was choking on a piece of hard candy.
"He saved my son's life," said Fabian's stepfather, Raul Torres.

While precise figures aren't available, the Heimlich maneuver likely
has saved thousands. And now Heimlich's nonprofit Cincinnati- based
Heimlich Institute is encouraging people to use the maneuver to
prevent drownings and asthma attacks.

Heimlich recommends using the maneuver to purge water from the lungs
of a potential drowning victim. He said if that doesn't work, a
rescuer should proceed to CPR. However, the American Red Cross advises
lifeguards to first try mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The lifeguard
should use the Heimlich maneuver only if rescue breathing doesn't
work, Red Cross said.

Heimlich's advice for asthma patients is even more controversial. He
said the Heimlich maneuver expels air from the lungs. This carries
away mucus plugs, clearing the airway and ending the asthma attack,
Heimlich said.

The maneuver can even prevent asthma attacks, if done regularly,
Heimlich said. He predicts asthma treatment will become the most
common use of the maneuver.

However, the government's asthma treatment guidelines do not include
the Heimlich maneuver, said Ron Burke of the American Lung Association
of Metropolitan Chicago. "As far as we know, the Heimlich maneuver for
asthma has not been convincingly demonstrated to work," Burke said.

Heimlich, 81, was trained as a chest surgeon. He became an expert in
swallowing problems after pioneering a new technique for esophagus
surgery. Heimlich became interested in choking cases after reading a
New York Times article about the high death toll from choking.

In a typical victim, food would become lodged in the windpipe. Unable
to breathe or talk, the diner would die from what looked like a heart
attack. It was dubbed a "cafe coronary."

At the time, the recommended treatment for choking was slapping the
victim on the back. But this method, Heimlich said, made the problem
worse by lodging the food deeper in the throat. "It was a horrible
mistake," he said. "Thousands of people were dying who might not have
Heimlich invented a procedure that would compress the lungs. Air from
the lungs would be exhaled in a burst, causing food to pop out like a
cork from a champagne bottle.

After trying the method on four dogs--none of whom died--Heimlich
published his maneuver in the journal Emergency Medicine in June 1974.
The Chicago Daily News was the first newspaper to cover the story.
Other newspapers picked it up, and within three months, Heimlich had
received reports of at least 20 lives saved.

Heimlich called his technique "subdiaphragmatic pressure." Editors of
the Journal of the American Medical Association gave it a catchier
name, Heimlich maneuver. In 1985, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop
endorsed the Heimlich maneuver as the only method to treat choking.

Heimlich has traveled the world promoting his maneuver. On Sept. 29,
he was in suburban Rosemont to speak at the Save a Life Foundation's
awards dinner for Fabian and other heroes.
"People were surprised to know there is an actual Dr. Heimlich," said
Mary Amirante, the foundation's special events director.

Heimlich was somewhat of a celebrity at the dinner. People asked for
his autograph and posed with him for photographs. "Dr. Heimlich is a
very eloquent person," Amirante said. "He speaks in terms you can

Heimlich's knack for the common touch is what has made his technique
so successful. "The Heimlich maneuver would not be very valuable if
only a few people could do it," he said.

Copyright @ Chicago Sun Times Oct 7, 2001

danny burstein

Mar 19, 2008, 10:20:52 AM3/19/08
In <87b76d90-611b-45f3...@a1g2000hsb.googlegroups.com> ed.va...@gmail.com writes:

>Yes, There Really is a Dr. Heimlich And He's Pushing More Uses for his
>Famous Maneuver

>by Jim Ritter, Chicago Sun-Times, October 7, 2001

And the reason you've just reposted a nearly seven year
old article is, umm, what again?

Knowledge may be power, but communications is the key
[to foil spammers, my address has been double rot-13 encoded]

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