Inventor of the Heimlich Manoeuvre Performs His First Heimlich at Age 96 May 28, 2016 12:33

It's never too late to save a life!

The inventor of the lifesaving Heimlich Maneuver used the anti-choking technique named after him for the first time last Monday to save a woman who was choking on a piece of bone from the meal they were enjoying for dinner. The woman, Patty Ris, 87, was seated beside the retired doctor for dinner when the accident happened.

Dr. Henry Heimlich and Patty Ris

Ms. Patty Ris, right, poses with her hero, Dr. Henry Heimlich, left, inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver (Photo by Bryan Reynolds)

Dr. Heimlich, inventor of the aptly named Heimlich Maneuver, was quick to his feet upon seeing his co-resident choke on her hamburger meat. A staff member of Deupree House who was present at the scene recalls Dr. Heimlich calmly perform his lifesaving move on the choking woman. This dislodged "a piece of food with some bone" from the woman's throat, saving her.

When asked about the incident, Heimlich recalls, "She was going to die if she wasn’t treated. I did it, and a piece of food with some bone in it flew out of her mouth." He further says that Ms. Ris thanked him personally with a handwritten note. "She told me how wonderful and fortunate she felt," he added.

The Heimlich Maneuver

Unknown to many, choking causes up 4,800 deaths in the United States alone, but increased public knowledge of the Heimlich Maneuver can put a dent in that number.

Dr. Henry Heimlich Shows Johnny Carson How to Perform the Heimlich ManeuverDr. Henry Heimlich shows Johnny Carson how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver (Getty Images)

The Heimlich Maneuver was first introduced in 1974 by Dr. Henry Heimlich as a standard anti-choking technique that anyone, not just medical professionals, can perform. It has since been adopted by international medical bodies as a standard anti-choking procedure, and is taught in high school and college levels, as well as in most workplaces.

It goes without saying that knowledge of the simplest first aid techniques can save lives-- and it's never too late to be a hero!