At 96 Years Old, Dr. Heimlich Uses His Maneuver For The First Time

May 28, 2016

The man who invented the Heimlich Maneuver, Dr. Henry Heimlich, has demonstrated the technique many times. But at 96 years of age, he used it for the first time to save a life.

dr heimlich uses Maneuver first time
Photo credit: Al Behrman/AP

On Monday at an assisted-living facility in Cincinnati, a fellow diner started choking. Resident Patty Ris, 87, had swallowed a piece of meat and was struggling to breathe.

Perry Gaines, an employee of the Deupree House — who had in fact performed the Heimlich maneuver before — ran toward her table. But Heimlich was already in position.

Typically, a staff member would do it," the Enquirer reports. "'But,' Gaines said, pausing, 'it is Dr. Heimlich.'"

Dr. Heimlich successfully dislodged the meat from 87-year-old Ris' airway.

"It was very gratifying," Dr. Heimlich said. "That moment was very important to me. I knew about all the lives my manoeuvre has saved over the years and I have demonstrated it so many times but here, for the first time, was someone sitting right next to me who was about to die."

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