Dr. Heimlich Uses Heimlich Maneuver For First Time, Saves Life

The doctor credited with creating the maneuver that has been used to save countless choking victims finally had a chance to use the maneuver he created in an emergency situation, at the age of 96:

When he heard that a resident was choking, Perry Gaines, maître d’ for the Deupree House dining room, ran toward the table.

Gaines has been trained in the Heimlich maneuver and has performed it at least twice in the two years he has worked at the Hyde Park senior living facility.

When Gaines arrived at the table, Dr. Henry Heimlich, a 96-year-old resident of the Deupree House who invented the famous technique for clearing a blocked airway, was standing behind the woman, ready to perform it.

Typically, a staff member would do it. “But,” Gaines said, pausing, “it is Dr. Heimlich.”

Heimlich, who swims and exercises regularly, was able to dislodge a piece of hamburger that had become stuck in 87-year-old Patty Ris’s airway.

Gaines said the entire room, filled with 125 diners, focused on the table, which was near the center of the room. Ris recovered quickly, and everyone returned to their meals.

Monday’s incident at the Deupree House was the first time Heimlich, who has demonstrated the maneuver countless times since inventing it in the 1970s, used it to stop someone from choking, he said.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Heimlich recounted what happened. He said Ris had been sitting next to him at his table.

“When I used it, and she recovered quickly,” he said, “it made me appreciate how wonderful it has been to be able to save all those lives.”

His son, Phil Heimlich, said his father regularly meets people who were either saved or saved somebody else.

“Just the fact that a 96-year-old man could perform that, is impressive,” he said.

Nicely done, Doctor. Nicely done.

FILED UNDER: Health, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    What a champ. Bravo, Dr. Heimlich.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Sometimes reality just kicks fiction’s ass.