At 96 years of age, Henry Heimlich, the surgeon who invented the life-saving Heimlich maneuver, has only recently used the technique for the first time in his life.
Though Dr. Heimlich has demonstrated the technique countless times since publicizing it in 1974, he had never used it on a real-life choking victim until Monday, May 23. Dr. Heimlich, a resident of the Deupree House assisted living facility in Hyde Park, Ohio, was finally called upon to perform the procedure he invented when a fellow resident began choking on a piece of hamburger.
The task would normally have fallen to a staff member to handle, but “it is Dr. Heimlich,” a maître d’ for the facility’s dining room told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The patient, 87-year-old Patty Ris, who was seated next to the doctor, recovered quickly. “When I used it, and she recovered quickly,” Heimlich told the paper, “it made me appreciate how wonderful it has been to be able to save all those lives.”