How Dr. Henry Heimlich saved the World from "Restaurant Death"

How Dr. Henry Heimlich saved the World from "Restaurant Death"

Categories: Health and Medicine

It just so happens that death lies in wait for each of us every day. Road accidents, heart attacks and strokes, psychopathic murderers, faulty electrical appliances — the list can be continued indefinitely. And not the last place in this list is occupied by "restaurant death". This is the name of fatal cases when a person choked on food and suffocated. Yes, there are such deaths, and we would have heard about them much more often if not for Dr. Henry Heimlich, who came up with an algorithm for saving human life in such cases.

How Dr. Henry Heimlich saved the World from "Restaurant Death"

Man, alas, is imperfect. Our nasopharynx is simultaneously involved in both breathing and eating. The swallowing reflex helps to manage all this, separating these two vital actions. But the system does not always work flawlessly. In young children, the reflex is still poorly developed, and in older people, on the contrary, it has already been blunted.

Taking alcohol causes muscle relaxation and can disrupt the reflex, especially if a person is trying to talk and eat at the same time. There are other cases from which absolutely no one is insured. Anyone can choke while eating, but it does not always end in tears.

If a person who has got food "in the wrong throat" can talk and actively coughs, then, most likely, nothing terrible has happened and he will cope with the problem without outside help. But if the airways are completely blocked, then a person cannot not only tell about the problem, but even cough and breathe. In such cases, the score goes by seconds and the faster help comes, the higher the chance of salvation.

It is necessary to call an ambulance in this case, but doctors very rarely have time to help a person. The only hope for the victim is for those who are next to him. It depends on their correct actions whether he will live or not. An effective way of salvation in case of "restaurant death" was invented by the American doctor Henry Heimlich, to whom hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of the planet owe their lives.

How Dr. Henry Heimlich saved the World from "Restaurant Death"

The technique is demonstrated by the author himself

Dr. Heimlich is the author of not only a life-saving device named after him, but also many other wonderful inventions that have been helping to save human lives for many years. He invented a new technique for esophageal bypass surgery, a valve to prevent pneumothorax in penetrating chest wounds, and an intra-tracheal catheter for chronic oxygen therapy. But it is the Heimlich technique that is best known, which is included in the list of first aid methods.

The action should be repeated several times until the object that interferes with breathing flies out of the throat like a cork from a champagne bottle. But you need to act quickly, without hesitation and unnecessary fuss. In most cases, if the instructions are followed, this technique works, since it is based on the features of the structure of the human respiratory organs.

Henry Heimlich vo He served as a Marine in the Second World War and saw many deaths. Therefore, after demobilization, he decided to study as a thoracic surgeon and devote himself to saving people. Airway obstruction is one of the topics that most interested the doctor.

Heimlich's technique was first introduced to the masses in 1974 in an article that Heimlich wrote for one of the medical journals. However, in his work, the doctor talked about helping ... beagle dogs who choked on large pieces of meat.

At the end of the article, the author cautiously noted — if the method works with dogs, then can it also be used to help a person? But how could it be found out, because no one wants to choke on purpose in order to prove the validity of a new theory.

How Dr. Henry Heimlich saved the World from "Restaurant Death"

Here Gerni Heimlich went to one trick that can be called dangerous. He began actively giving interviews to journalists about his method, not forgetting to add that he could not vouch for the fact that he was really a worker. At the same time, the doctor mentioned that with the onset of" restaurant death", his method can be tried, because if you just stand and wail, then the choked person will still die.

It is worth adding that there was some truth in Heimlich's words, since before his development, all assistance to victims was limited to energetic slaps on the back. This could help, and could, on the contrary, contribute to the further immersion of a foreign body into the trachea, which inevitably killed.

How Dr. Henry Heimlich saved the World from "Restaurant Death"

Children are sometimes helped like this

Heimlich instantly became a celebrity. — he was invited to radio and television, seminars and lectures were organized for him. Two years later, in 1976, the Red Cross and the American Heart Association made changes to the recommendations for providing assistance for asphyxia — the method with palm strikes between the shoulder blades was removed as ineffective and replaced with the Heimlich method with his abdominal thrusts.

Until the early 2000s, Henry Heimlich alone bore the laurels of the creator of the method. But in 2003, another scientist, Dr. Edward Patrick, encroached on his fame. He stated that in the early 70s he helped Heimlich in the development of the method, but his name, as a co-author of the invention, was never mentioned. Therefore, it would be fair to call the method of abdominal thrusts the Heimlich-Patrick technique.

How Dr. Henry Heimlich saved the World from "Restaurant Death"

"Choking Charlie"

Despite this, the method is taught at all first aid courses in any country of the world. To simplify the process of working out pushes, a special dummy was even created, which is jokingly called "choked Charlie". The method invented by an American doctor can be used by a completely unprepared person, which is its main advantage.

In fairness, it should be noted that, in addition to the Heimlich technique, other rescue techniques are also used. For example, when it is necessary to release the respiratory tract of a small child, it is turned upside down to connect gravity as well.

How Dr. Henry Heimlich saved the World from "Restaurant Death"

Dr. Henry Heimlich

An interesting fact is that Henry Heimlich himself put his technique into practice only once, shortly before his death. The doctor was already 96 years old when he saved his 87-year-old roommate at the nursing home, Patty Rees, who choked on a piece of hamburger. When the woman began to suffocate, no one was around except Heimlich, and the staff of the institution who came to the rescue were able to attend only the final part of the historical moment, when the old woman was no longer in danger.

Keywords: Doctor | Food | Technique | Ambulance | Death | Rescue

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