Cover Story: The Heimlich Maneuver, Drowning and Potsie
Until a couple months ago, I had no clue thatthe guy who invented the Heimlich maneuver
was still alive. Dr. Henry Heimlich – known as Hank to friends and family – is 87 and lives outside Cincinnati, Ohio. I also didn’t know that his son Peter Heimlich has been waginga years-long campaign
to discredit his old man.
And it was news to me that Henry Heimlich spent decades fighting with the medical establishment – he promoted some pretty wacky medical theories, such as injecting AIDS victims with malaria, and performing his famed anti-choking maneuver as a first response for asthma attacks, heart attacks and drowning.
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. UCF Knights Football
TicketsSat., Oct. 29, 11:00am
Rice University Owls Football vs. Florida Atlantic University Owls Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 5, 2:30pm
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Tulane University Football
TicketsSat., Nov. 12, 11:00am
University of Houston Cougars Football vs. Louisville Cardinals College Football
TicketsThu., Nov. 17, 7:00pm
This week’s cover story is about a University of Houston professor of mathematics who trains lifeguards to perform the Heimlich maneuver on drowning victims despite claims from medical experts that it 1) makes no sense scientifically and 2) may prove deadly. John Hunsucker and Henry Heimlich – who met about ten years ago – have taken a lot of flak for their positions. Both have been accused of medical-ethics violations for allegedly conducting human-studies experiments.
Who knew? I sure didn’t.
Here are some other things I learned while researching the story:
--A nugget for movie fans: Ellen Barkin, Halle Berry, Cher, Goldie Hawn, Jack Lemon, Walter Matthau and Elizabeth Taylor all were saved from choking by the Heimlich maneuver.
--A nugget for rock fans: Peter Heimlich, estranged son of the iconic doctor, played bass as a teenager in a Cincy-based punk-rock band called Choke. He later spent years gigging in San Francisco, and even sold a song he wrote to metal queen Lita Ford recorded on her debut album. The tune was called “Rock ‘N Roll Made Me What I Am Today.”
--And a nugget for TV sitcom fans: the world-famous Dr. Henry Heimlich is the second cousin of actor Anson Williams, who played “Potsie” Weber on Happy Days. – Todd Spivak
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.