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In Memory of
Henry Judah Heimlich
February 3, 1920 - December 17, 2016

Henry Judah Heimlich, M.D
Physician and Inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver
Resident of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio

Born February 3, 1920
Died December 17, 2016

Henry Judah Heimlich, M.D., was an American thoracic surgeon and medical researcher. He is widely credited as the inventor of the Heimlich maneuver, a technique of abdominal thrusts for stopping choking, described in Emergency Medicine in 1974. He also invented the Micro Trach portable oxygen system for ambulatory patients and the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve, or flutter valve, which drains blood and air out of the chest cavity.

The man credited with inventing a maneuver to save choking victims has died at age 96, Episcopal Retirement Services said.

Heimlich maneuver namesake pens memoir Dr. Henry Heimlich died just after midnight Friday night at Christ Hospital from complications from a massive heart attack Monday at his home at Deupree House in Hyde Park.

The Cincinnati surgeon wrote the book on saving choking victims through his namesake Heimlich maneuver.

His views on how the maneuver should be used and on other innovations he created or proposed put him at odds with some in the health field.

Heimlich was president of the Heimlich Institute in Cincinnati, an organization that celebrates creativity in medical innovation.

Heimlich still responded to emails and letters about his work and made guest appearances with the Heimlich Heroes program, designed to teach young people how to use the Heimlich maneuver, in the last years of his life.

The Heimlich family released the following statement on Heimlichs death:

We are saddened by the loss of our father, Dr. Henry J. Heimlich, who passed away earlier today at the age of 96.

Dad was a hero to many people around the world for a simple reason: He helped save untold numbers of lives through the innovation of common-sense procedures and devices. But he was not only a physician and medical inventor, he was also a humanitarian and a loving and devoted son, husband, father, and grandfather. From the time Dad began his medical career in New York City, to the time he practiced 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. He grew up the son of a social worker in New York State, which deeply influenced his drive to help other people. He loved the ocean and served in the US Navy during World War II, volunteering for extra-hazardous duty, which led to him to working as a doctor behind enemy lines in the Gobi Desert of China. Later, he named his small sailboat, The Repose, after the hospital ship he spent time on after serving in China.

Most know of Dads name for the Heimlich Maneuver, the method he devised to save people who are choking. The maneuver, as he called it, not only has saved countless lives, it allows anyone, even children, to save the life of a choking victim. But as his memoir, Heimlichs Maneuvers explains, Dad accomplished much more.

As a young surgeon, Dad was the first American to devise and perform a total organ replacement. Later, he came up with a device that saved thousands of soldiers lives during the Vietnam War. The Heimlich Chest Drain Valve is still used worldwide for patients undergoing chest surgery.

Dad was firm in his convictions and passionate for his causes. He did not play politics well. Instead, he was single-minded in his quest to find better ways to save lives. Dad dreamed that anything was possible in the field of medicine, even when critics said otherwise.

The family requests that those who wish to honor our fathers legacy make a contribution to Heimlich Heroes, a nonprofit organization that teaches children around the world how to save a life with the Heimlich Maneuver. For more information on the life of Dr. Heimlich or to make a donation to Heimlich Heroes, please visit: