Henry Heimlich, 96, uses maneuver he invented to save choking woman

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CINCINNATI — The 96-year-old Cincinnati surgeon credited with developing his namesake Heimlich maneuver recently used the emergency technique for the first time himself to save a woman choking on food at his senior living center.

Dr. Henry Heimlich told The Cincinnati Enquirer in an interview Thursday he has demonstrated the well-known maneuver many times through the years but had never before used it on a person who was choking.

“When I used it, and she recovered quickly,” he said, “it made me appreciate how wonderful it has been to be able to save all those lives.”

An employee at the Deupree House in Cincinnati where Heimlich lives says the retired chest surgeon was in the room when an 87-year-old woman began choking. The employee says Heimlich dislodged a piece of hamburger from the woman’s airway and she quickly recovered.

Heimlich says it made him appreciate how wonderful it has been “to be able to save all those lives.”

His son, Phil Heimlich, said his father regularly meets people who were either saved or saved somebody else.

“Just the fact that a 96-year-old man could perform that, is impressive,” he said.