Facts about Henry Heimlich

Born: 1920
Best known as: The guy who developed the Heimlich Maneuver


Henry Heimlich Biography

Dr. Henry Heimlich invented the so-called Heimlich Maneuver — a squeeze-to-the-stomach technique for helping people choking on food.

Henry Heimlich first practiced medicine in New York City, then moved to Cincinnati, Ohio in the 1970s. A specialist in digestive disorders, Heimlich developed the “Heimlich Maneuver” in the mid-1970s as a way to save choking victims. To perform the maneuver, one stood behind the choking victim, reached around with both arms, made a fist and squeezed the gut suddenly. The resulting burst of air would often force the food from the throat and clear the airway, saving the victim.

Over time the Heimlich Maneuver became accepted by most medical professionals and is now commonly considered the best approach to saving people choking on food. Heimlich also trumpeted the maneuver as a way to save drowning victims, but in later years there was much controversy over its efficacy. Heimlich himself performed the life-saving maneuver on a fellow resident in the dining room of his senior living center in 2016. He died of a heart attack later that year.

Extra credit

Celebrities who have been saved by the Heimlich Maneuver include Elizabeth Taylor, Ronald Reagan and Cher.


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