Inventor of the Heimlich manoeuvre dies aged 96

Dr Henry Heimlich passed away at a hospital in Cincinnati on Saturday following a heart attack last week

Inventor of the Heimlich manoeuvre dies aged 96

File Photo, Dr. Henry Heimlich. 05-Feb-2014 Image: Al Behrman AP/Press Association Images

Henry Heimlich, the US doctor who created a life-saving manoeuvre for choking victims has died.

Dr Heimlich passed away at a hospital in Cincinnati at the age of 96 following a heart attack last Monday.

He invented the famous “Heimlich manoeuvre” - which uses abdominal thrusts to clear a person’s airway - in 1974.

In May of this year, he used the technique himself to save a woman at his retirement home.

Dr Heimlich managed to dislodge a piece of hamburger that had become stuck in 87-year-old Patty Ris’ airway.

Speaking at the time, Dr Heimlich said: "When I used it, and she recovered quickly, it made me appreciate how wonderful it has been to be able to save all those lives."

Dr Heimlich was director of surgery at the Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati when he devised the technique.

In a statement released to the media, Dr Heimlich's family said he had been "a hero to many people around the world".

"From the time Dad began his medical career in New York City, to the time he practised 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," it said.

Since the technique was introduced in 1974 it is believed to have saved the lives of more than 100,000 people in the US alone.

Dr Heimlich also developed the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve which is still used for patients undergoing chest surgery.