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Henry Heimlich, Inventor Of Life-Saving Antichoking Technique, Dies At 96

First Posted: Dec 19, 2016 05:21 AM EST

Dr. Henry Heimlich, the inventor of the popular Heimlich Maneuver to save people from choking, died on Dec. 17 at age 96. He died at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati where he was staying after suffering a heart attack earlier this week.

"My father was a great man who saved many lives," Phil Heimlich said as reported by the Advertiser"He will be missed not only by his family but by all of the humanity," he added.

The Episcopal Retirement Services, the company that owns Deupree House, where Heimlich stayed, confirmed the news.

"We are deeply saddened by his passing," Laura Lamb, the incoming chief executive of Episcopal Retirement Services, said as reported by CNN"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. It was an absolute pleasure serving Dr. Heimlich. He was very kind and caring, and was respected by all," she added.

The Heimlich Maneuver

The world-famous Heimlich maneuver, introduced in 1974, has been able to save people from choking to death as high as 100,000, the Medscape reports.

In 1974, Dr. Henry Heimlich was the director of surgery at Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati when he devised and introduced the treatment for choking victims. The first aid procedure relies on abdominal thrusts to clear the person's airways of foreign bodies. It is performed by wrapping one's arms around the victim's waist and thrusting it upward to dislodge an airway obstruction to prevent suffocation.

The popular first aid treatment has saved a lot of lives of many people including some famous people like President Ronald Reagan, Halle Berry, Carrie Fisher, Cher and Nicole Kidman.

Dr. Henry Heimlich's Long Battle Against Red Cross

In the 1980s, Dr. Henry Heimlich wanted to recommend the maneuver to save drowning patients. However, he failed to convince the Red Cross and the American Heart Association to replace cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with the Heimlich maneuver.

In 2006, the Red Cross updated its official guidelines, telling people to give five back blows on the victim and only try the Heimlich maneuver if the first action did not work. The doctor said that he did not want his name attached to performing back blows because it could cause danger to the patient. Thus, Red Cross changed it to abdominal thrusts, Mental Floss reports.

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