The Thin Line between an Absurd Episode and an Awful Accident


Thoracic surgeon Henry Heimlich died on Saturday, December 17, at age 96. In 1962, Heimlich “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.”

But most people would not be able to tell you that. Nor would they be able to tell you Heimlich lived and practiced medicine for much of his life in Cincinnati, Ohio.

But almost everyone would be able to guess correctly that he developed the “Heimlich Maneuver” that has saved many people from death by allowing bystanders to dislodge pieces of food that have been suddenly obstructing their airways.

Indeed, less than a year ago, Heimlich himself had used the technique to save another resident at the assisted-living facility where he lived after she had started choking on a piece of meat that had a small bone in…

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