The doctor who invented the life-saving Heimlich maneuver has died

Earlier this year, Heimlich used the maneuver he invented to save a woman from choking.
Publish date:

The doctor who invented the Heimlich maneuver – a technique to save people from choking – has died at the age of 96.

Dr. Henry Heimlich had a heart attack earlier this week and had been admitted to Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, KARE 11 reports. He died there Saturday morning.

Heimlich had been a thoracic surgeon. According to his website, he spent 70 years doing medicine.

His biography says Heimlich started his career during World War II, where he developed a treatment for eye infections.

He later became the first American surgeon to perform a reversed gastric tube operation – it replaces a damaged esophagus with a tube made from the patient's stomach.

Heimlich also invented the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve, which prevents lungs from collapsing after chest trauma.

In the 1970s, the surgeon developed what he would become most famous for: the Heimlich maneuver. According to CNN, a lot of people died from choking back then. So Heimlich came up with a simple maneuver that involves using abdominal thrusts to expel the object from the victim’s airway.

The BBC says it's saved about 100,000 people in the U.S. from choking. To learn how to do it, click here.

The surgeon was inducted into two halls of fame because of that anti-choking maneuver: Engineering and Science in 1985 and Safety and Health in 1993.

And earlier this year – at the age of 96 –Heimlich actually successfully used that technique to save a woman's life.

Next Up