We were all taught how to do the "hug and lift" move when we were in school, and while it was always good to learn, we hoped we would never have to use it.
Some people may go their whole lives and never have to be the one to save someone from choking, and that was nearly the case for the inventor of this life-saving technique!
Dr. Henry Heimlich was a surgeon in the 1970's who had heard too many tales in his career of people dying from simply choking at the dinner table. While common practice was to slap the back of the person in danger, Heimlich felt this would only serve to force the obstruction down further.
So he worked on several theories before publishing a report on a new way to dislodge items from someone's throat. It caught national attention and soon everyone was learning how to do the "Heimlich Maneuver"!
Now, over 40 years after he first introduced the move, he was faced with a situation where there was nothing else to do but act.
Dr. Heimlich was residing at his retirement home in Cincinnati when during dinner he realized that one of his fellow residents was clearly choking.
He immediately pulled her out of her chair, moved behind her, and then administered the maneuver several times before the blockage was dislodged from her throat.
He said he was glad he could help someone, and see first hand what it was like to use it in a life-or-death situation.
“That moment was very important to me. I knew about all the lives my [maneuver] has saved over the years and I have demonstrated it so many times but here, for the first time, was someone sitting right next to me who was about to die.”
The woman was overjoyed and thanked God that she had sat next to him that day. The two of them celebrated over dinner the following night.
Dr. Heimlich passed away later that year, but was happy that he had been able to introduce something into the world that had such a positive influence in people's lives.