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The Right Way To Save A Life

~ in loving memory of Juanita Bradley, my neighbor and friend who died Nov. 5, 2005 after choking while eating alone ~

If you're alone and choking, you can perform the Heimlich Maneuver on yourself! Learn how before it's too late!

And always have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) handy so you can revive someone who is not responding to CPR!


Disagreements Over Choking Rescue Techniques

The Red Cross teaches you should slap someone who's choking on their back with a series of five back blows followed by a series of five abdominal thrusts, otherwise known as the 'five and five,' and then only if necessary, do the Heimlich Maneuver.

But Dr. Henry Heimlich believes you should never hit or slap an adult, child or infant on their back if they're choking...that it will most likely make it worse or even be fatal.

What's more, the American Heart Association agrees with Dr. Heimlich that the Heimlich Maneuver should be used when someone's choking, but disagrees on how it should be performed on a child.

Dr. Heimlich recommends using the middle and index fingers of both hands, but the AHA recommends using your fist and thumb, and then using CPR, followed by an AED if necessary, if the child becomes unresponsive.

Dr. Heimlich's son, Peter Heimlich, reveals why all three disagree:

On a positive note, the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR), whom the AHA, but unfortunately not also the Red Cross, is currently cooperating with, is seeking to foster scientific research in areas of resuscitation where there is a lack of data or where there is controversy, encouraging resuscitation organizations to reach a consensus and enabling them to publish science-based resuscitation guidelines.

I would think that unless the person or baby choking was leaning or being held far enough forward that his or her throat was in a downward position, hitting or slapping the person could make what he or she was choking on lodge in his or her throat due to gravity and cause the person to choke to death.

It would seem Dr. Heimlich's right if the person is upright. But apparently no scientific research, including Dr. Heimlich's, has conclusively proven that it's dangerous, whether the person is upright or leaning forward.

So it's up to you. I suggest following the Red Cross's advice and leaning the person or baby forward, but far enough forward that his or her throat is in a downward position before hitting or slapping him or her on the back.

WARNING: I'm not a medical professional, so my suggestion is just that, a suggestion, nothing more. The decision is yours to make. I pray, and recommend you pray also, that you make the right one when the time comes.

Life-Saving Techniques

Save a life! Spread the word and take Red Cross courses! skip

Dr. Heimlich's Controversial Recommendations

Dr. Heimlich's maneuver has saved lots of lives. Unfortunately, hitting or slapping someone's back when choking isn't the only controversial life-saving method the Red Cross and Dr. Heimlich disagree on.

Should you give the Heimlich Maneuver or CPR first to a drowning victim? Should you give the Heimlich Maneuver to someone having an asthma attack, before the paramedics arrive? Should you induce malaria to cure cancer, Lyme disease and AIDS?

Dr. Heimlich's controversial recommendations to save lives in such situations: skip

The following articles tell more about the very controversial recommendations made by Dr. Heimlich to save lives in such situations. skip

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