Heimlich maneuver keeps saving lives

On June 23, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin saved fellow senator Claire McCaskill from choking by performing the Heimlich maneuver on her to dislodge food caught in her windpipe during an event in Washington, D.C.

That same day, a Chick-fil-A restaurant worker in Austin, Texas came to the aid of a customer who was choking on food. Hunter Harris rushed out from behind the counter and saved the man’s life by performing the Heimlich maneuver.  The restaurant’s surveillance video of the incident has since gone viral.

The lifesaving technique was developed in 1974 by the late Dr. Henry Heimlich, who died in 2016. Since its inception, the Heimlich maneuver has saved the lives of thousands of choking victims, including the entertainment world’s Cher, Justin Timberlake and Carrie Fisher, and President Ronald Reagan. And actors Bill Murray, Clint Eastwood and Dan Aykroyd have used the technique to rescue people who were choking.

The procedure involves wrapping one’s arms around a victim from behind, making a fist, placing it just above the navel and below the ribs, and thrusting in and up. It works by forcing air left in the lungs to propel an object out of the windpipe. Some people who have been saved with the Heimlich maneuver have talked about seeing a piece of food “shoot across the room.”

Consider this: In 1985, then-U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop announced that the Heimlich maneuver was the only method that should be used to save victims of choking. “The Heimlich Maneuver is safe, effective, and easily mastered by the average person,” he said.

Source: Heimlich Maneuver, a national awareness campaign launched by Janet and Phil Heimlich, the children of Dr. Henry Heimlich.