Dr Henry Heimlich the inventor of the maneuver named after him has died aged 96. The pioneering surgeon invented the life saving treatment for choking in 1974 died this week of a heart attack.
It is thought that after he devised the treatment whilst working in a Cincinnati hospital in 1974 that thousands of lives have been saved by the move that requires someone to harshly squeeze the choking victims abdomen, which in turn causes the lungs to exhale and push out the offending object. Only this year he described how he saved the life of another resident at the retirement home he was living in.
Dr Heimlich has been quoted as saying of the maneuver, “The best thing about it is that it allows anyone to save a life” he spent most of his remaining years dedicated to proving the efficacy of the move, which is thought by many in the medical community to be somewhat controversial. With the Red Cross openly suggesting that blows to the back were more effective, though Dr heimlich has stuck to his opinion and suggested that his technique could be used on everyone, where as back blows would be dangerous to infants and the elderly. Heimlich has also suggested that the technique could save the lives of drowning victims, though there is little evidence to support his claim.
In his later years his fractured relationship with his eldest son, had spilled into the media, with Dr Heimlich being described as having dangerous theories in medicine. Though the family insisted that the rift was a private family matter, and refused to respond to claims from their family member.
Often unorthodox Dr Heimlich dedicated himself to research and has been involved with some extremely controversial trials including injecting HIV victims with the malaria virus as he expected that it could raise immunity against HIV. This was harshly looked down on by experts. He spent a significant portion of his life ignoring his critics and pushing ahead with his work even in the face of great adversity, and although many won’t agree there will be consensus that he was indeed a pioneer, if not a controversial one. Though he will be remembered for being a fearless pioneer and saving the lives of thousands with his choking therapy.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.