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17 Dec 2016

Heimlich manoeuvre inventor dies aged 96

US doctor Henry Heimlich, who invented the manoeuvre used to help victims of choking, has died aged 96.

Dr Heimlich died at a hospital in the US city of Cincinnati early on Saturday following complications from a heart attack he suffered on Monday, his family says.

Dr Heimlich invented the lifesaving technique, which uses abdominal thrusts to clear a person's airway, in 1974.

In May he used the technique himself to save a woman at his retirement home.

He dislodged a piece of meat with a bone in it from the airway of an 87-year-old woman, telling the BBC: "I didn't know I really could do it until the other day."

r Heimlich was director of surgery at the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati when he devised the technique.

In a statement released to the media, Dr Heimlich's family said he had been "a hero to many people around the world".

"From the time Dad began his medical career in New York City, to the time he practised as a thoracic surgeon in Cincinnati, he was committed to coming up with simple, effective ideas that helped save lives and significantly improved people's quality of life," it said.

The anti-choking manoeuvre was not Dr Heimlich's only success. In 1962 he developed the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve which was credited with saving many soldiers' lives in the Vietnam War and is still used for patients undergoing chest surgery.

 

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