Inventor of the Heimlich manoeuvre dies at 96

Henry Heimlich, the surgeon who invented the "Heimlich maneuver" to save choking victims, died Saturday at a Cincinnati hospital, his family said.

He initially claimed it was the first time he had ever used the maneuver to save someone's life, but it was later found that he had done it before in 2001 on a man who was choking at a restaurant.

Appearing before the U.S. Lifesaving Association in 1995, he argued on behalf of using the maneuver for drowning by recalling that, "the Nuremberg trials told the story that no one can be excused for saying, 'I was ordered to do so or was taught to do so, to kill people'".

He developed the Heimlich maneuver - reaching around a choking victim from the back and thrusting up on the person's abdomen to dislodge a throat obstruction - in the 1970s.

The Cincinnati Enquirer wrote in 2003 that Heimlich's experiments, which involved infecting HIV/AIDS patients with malarial parasites to attempt to destroy the HIV infection via fever, "have been criticized by the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration and condemned by other health professionals and human rights advocates as a medical 'atrocity'".

"Dad was firm in his convictions and passionate for his causes", the statement announcing his death said.

Heimlich rushed to act, performing the maneuver.

He was born in Wilmington, Delaware, to Mary Epstein and Philip Heimlich. His mother, Mary, helped raise her five younger brothers and sisters after her own mother died when she was a teenager. He graduated from what is now known as Weill Cornell Medical College in 1943 with a degree in medicine.

He married Jane Murray, daughter of famous ballroom dancing entrepreneurs Arthur and Kathryn Murray, after a four-month courtship. Peter has been an outspoken critic of his father, dedicating a website to uncovering what he calls "the Heimlich medical frauds".

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