Heimlich’s Maneuvers: My Seventy Years of Lifesaving Innovation

Dr. Heimlich was a thoracic surgeon best known for having developed the Heimlich Maneuver, the world’s easiest to learn and most universally known method to save people from choking to death on food or foreign objects. But many don’t know about his other lifesaving innovations. He was the inventor of the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve, which saved thousands of lives during the Vietnam War, and the Heimlich MicroTrach, which provides a remarkably efficient way for people to take oxygen.

Heilich Maneuver

Heimlich’s Maneuvers also discusses Dr. Heimlich’s most recent work where he had turned his attention to a devastating illness for which medicine has not yet found a cure—HIV/AIDS. In addition, he explained how the Heimlich Maneuver can have other uses, such as to help people with asthma. He described his research and its promise, as well as the controversy and resistance his new ideas generated.

Interweaving the author’s personal life with riveting stories of his numerous medical breakthroughs, this rich memoir provides insights into the workings of a creative mind and the machinations of the American medical system.

Reviews and quotes

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On page 133 of Heimlich’s Maneuvers, the quote from Reader’s Digest should read:

A small device barely five inches long is saving the lives of hundreds of Vietnam wounded—civilian as well as military. Called the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve, the new device, developed by Dr. Henry Heimlich, is used to drain fluids which accumulate in the chest cavity following heart and lung surgery, during certain illnesses, or as a result of a chest wound. Failure to drain can be fatal. The traditional method of draining the chest cavity requires elaborate tubing connected to drainage bottles half-filled with water. . . . Moving the patient with this apparatus, even from one area of a hospital to another, is complicated and often dangerous. Almost insurmountable difficulties arise in combat areas, where the patient must be moved quickly and often.

This text will be corrected in future editions of the book.