What’s the first thing you think of when someone around you starts choking?
The Heimlich maneuver!
The technique has saved countless lives since it was invented in the 1970s, and on Monday — for the first time — the man who created it got to use it on someone.
The 96-year-old retired chest surgeon, Dr. Henry Heimlich, revealed in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer that although he had demonstrated the emergency maneuver several times, he had never actually used it on someone while they were choking — until now.
Dr. Heimlich lives in a senior living facility called the Deupree House. Perry Gaines, an employee at the home, said that Heimlich was present when an 87-year-old woman started choking on a piece of hamburger.
Heimlich was able to whip out his well-known maneuver to dislodge the food trapped in her airway and save her life.
Gaines said that a staff member would ideally be the one to perform the emergency technique but he thought to himself, “It is Dr. Heimlich.”
According to The Daily Beast, Heimlich said the experience made him really appreciate that his method has been “able to save all those lives.”
“Just the fact that a 96-year-old man could perform that is impressive,” Dr. Heimlich’s son, Phil, reportedly said.
“Impressive” may just be an understatement.