Sunday, 18 December 2016

Henry Heimlich Dies Aged 96

Henry Heimlich

Henry Heimlich, the American doctor who invented the life-saving manoeuvre carrying his name, has died.

His son announced his death on Saturday, saying he passed away in the US city of Cincinnati aged 96.

Dr Heimlich died in hospital on Friday night following complications from a heart attack he suffered four days before, his family said.

His son, Phil Heimlich, said: “My father was a great man who saved many lives. He will be missed not only by his family but by all of humanity.”

Dr Heimlich was director of surgery at Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati when he the world-famous technique to dislodge airway obstructions in 1974, using it himself earlier this year to save a choking woman at his retirement home.

“When I used it, and she recovered quickly,” he told a local newspaper at the time. “It made me appreciate how wonderful it has been to be able to save all those lives.”

The chest surgeon told the Associated Press that thousands of deaths reported annually from choking prompted him to seek a solution in 1972.

Over the next two years, he led a team of researchers who tested the technique by putting a tube with a balloon at one end down an anaesthetised dog’s airway until it choked. Dr Heimlich then used the manoeuvre to force the dog to expel the obstruction.

The manoeuvre was adopted by public health authorities, airlines and restaurant associations but his views on how it should be used put him at odds with some in the health field. He

“I know the manoeuvre saves lives, and I want it to be used and remembered,” he said in 2014. “I felt I had to have it down in print so the public will have the correct information.”

The technique has continued to make headlines. Clint Eastwood was attending a golf event in Monterey, California, in 2014 when the actor saw the tournament director choking on a piece of cheese and successfully performed the technique.

Heimlich was proud of some of his other innovations, such as a chest drain valve credited by some with saving soldiers and civilians during the Vietnam War.

But he drew criticism for his theory that injecting patients with a curable form of malaria could trigger immunity in patients with the HIV virus that causes Aids. Medical experts have said injecting patients with malaria would be dangerous and have criticised Heimlich for conducting studies involving malariotherapy on HIV patients in China.

One of his most vocal critics has been his son, Peter Heimlich, who parted ways with his father years ago over a personal rift. He has called many of his father's theories dangerous and spent years challenging many of his claims and trying to discredit them.

The elder Heimlich attended Cornell University undergraduate and medical schools and interned at Boston City Hospital. During the Second World War the US Navy sent him to treat Chinese and American forces behind Japanese lines in the Gobi Desert.

Beginning in the 1950s, he held staff surgeon positions at New York's Metropolitan Hospital and Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center. He later was an attending surgeon at Jewish and Deaconess hospitals in Cincinnati and a researcher at his nonprofit Heimlich Institute.

Heimlich's wife Jane, daughter of the late dance teacher Arthur Murray, died in November 2012. He is survived by two sons and two daughters.

A private family service and burial is planned soon, before a public memorial planned to give friends and admirers a chance to pay their respects.



Etiam at libero iaculis, mollis justo non, blandit augue. Vestibulum sit amet sodales est, a lacinia ex. Suspendisse vel enim sagittis, volutpat sem eget, condimentum sem.