Last week Henry Heimlich, the physician who invented the famous Heimlich maneuver, occupied the front pages of the news because he managed to save the life of a fellow senior resident by applying his famous technique.
It’s an incredible story meant to teach us the importance of knowing how to apply CPR when a person’s life is in danger. The Heimlich maneuver, alongside other basic CPR notions, should be taught in every classroom. This would considerably lower the number of accidental deaths every year.
According to the NSC (National Safety Council), chocking is number four in the top leading causes of unintentional deaths. If more people knew how to apply the simple Heimlich maneuver, then more lives would be saved every year.
“One of the most important things about chocking, in general, is that if someone can cough and can make noise, the best thing to do is to encourage them to keep coughing. If they look like they’re struggling, if they stop making noise, or if they start to change color, that would be the time to take action.”
In the case action is needed, here are the few simple steps of the Heimlich maneuver:
- Instruct somebody else to phone 911 while you are approaching the victim. Time is crucial and every second counts when it comes to receiving professional help.
- Try and explain your movements as you go, so that the victim feels reassured. It also helps the person that is chocking to panic a little bit less when they receive audio confirmation that you know what you’re doing.
- With your dominant hand (left if you are a lefty, right if you are a righty) form a fist. Place the thumb of the newly formed fist halfway between the sternum and the belly button.
- Grab your fist with your other hand.
- Firmly move your fist in upward and inward thrusts. This movement will allow you to dislodge the foreign object from the victim’s airway.
- Continue this until something changes in the condition of the individual and then proceed according to the change. This means that you can either let the person cough the foreign object out, or apply CPR if the person loses consciousness.
- Stay with the victim until the ambulance arrives.
Image source: Wikipedia