Henry Judah Heimlich was an American thoracic surgeon and medical researcher. He is widely credited as the inventor of the Heimlich maneuver, a technique of abdominal thrusts for stopping choking, described in Emergency Medicine in 1974. He also invented the Micro Trach portable oxygen system for ambulatory patients and the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve, or “flutter valve,” which drains blood and air out of the chest cavity.
Early Life of Henry Jeimlich
- Henry Heimlich was born in Wilmington, Delaware. He graduated from New Rochelle High School (NY) in 1937 and from Cornell University (where he also served as drum major of the Cornell Big Red Marching Band) with a B.A. in 1941.
- At the age of 23, he received his M.D. from the Weill Cornell Medical College in 1943.
- At the time, the Flexner recommendations hadn’t been implemented; thus, it was possible to graduate from an American medical school in two years.
HEIMLICH MANEUVER (ABDOMINAL THRUSTS)
Heimlich first published his views about the maneuver in a June 1974 informal article in Emergency Medicine entitled, “Pop Goes the Cafe Coronary”. On June 19, 1974, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that retired restaurant-owner Isaac Piha used the procedure to rescue a choking victim, Irene Bogachus, in Bellevue, Washington.
From 1976 to 1985, the choking-rescue guidelines of the American Heart Association and of the American Red Cross taught rescuers to first perform a series of backblows to remove the FBAO (foreign body airway obstruction); if backblows failed, then rescuers learned to proceed with the Heimlich maneuver (aka “abdominal thrusts”).
- The 2005 choking-rescue guidelines published by the American Heart Association called the procedure “abdominal thrusts”.
- The new guidelines stated that chest thrusts and back blows may also deal with choking effectively.
- Performing abdominal thrusts involves a rescuer standing behind a patient and using his or her hands to exert pressure on the bottom of the diaphragm.
- This compresses the lungs and exerts pressure on any object lodged in the trachea, hopefully expelling it.
- Most modern protocols, including those of the American Heart Association, American Red Cross and the European Resuscitation Council, recommend several stages for airway obstructions, designed to apply increasingly more pressure.
- Most protocols recommend encouraging the victim to cough, followed by hard back slaps, and finally abdominal thrusts or chest thrusts as a last resort. Some guidelines also recommend alternating between abdominal thrusts and back slaps.
From the early 1980s, Heimlich advocated malariotherapy, the deliberate infection of a person with benign malaria in order to treat ailments such as cancer, Lyme disease and (more recently) HIV.
- As of 2009 the treatments were unsuccessful, and attracted criticism as both scientifically unsound and dangerous.
- The United States Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have rejected malariotherapy and, along with health professionals and advocates for human rights, consider the practice “atrocious”.
- The Heimlich Institute, a subsidiary of Deaconess Associations of Cincinnati, conducted malariotherapy trials in Ethiopia, though the Ethiopian Ministry of Health was unaware of the activity
- Heimlich stated that his initial trials with seven subjects produced positive results, but refused to provide details. The experiments had no institutional review board oversight.
Henry Heimlich, a man whose technique has saved more than one lakh people lives in the World has passed away on December 16′ 2016. May his soul Rest in Peace.