Heimlich Maneuver Could Save Your Life

By: Josh Gauntt Email
By: Josh Gauntt Email

The preliminary cause of death ruled by the medical examiner shows 23-year-old Andrew Grande died of asphyxia.

Police say Grande swallowed a plastic baggie of marijuana after leading them on a foot chase at the Executive Inn in the early morning hours of August 11th.

A deputy tried to save him with the Heimlich maneuver. In a phone interview from New Jersey, Grande's father told the News Herald, it didn't seem the deputies were performing the maneuver properly. Or they didn't do it long enough.

.But even if everything had been done perfectly, it's uncertain as to whether the maneuver could have saved Grande.

Nonetheless, the event highlights the importance of the Heimlich maneuver.

Wednesday, we had Pete Francis, Bay Medicals Heimlich expert show us how it's done.

First you ask the patient are you choking. If they answer yes, Francis says you should stand behind the victim, place your hand in a fist. Your thumb should be pointing toward the victim. Then put it above the belly button...

"Five upward thrusts. One, two, three, four five," Francis said.

If the airway is still blocked, reposition then try it again until the object is clear.

"For someone in the late stages of life or if pregnant, you can actually go across the chest and do five upper thrusts," Francis said.

Sometimes the traditional Heimlich doesn't work. If the person becomes unconscious, you need to lie them on the ground...

"So we actually first look in the mouth to see if we can see the object. Then begin to ventilate," Francis said.

Then start chest compressions until the object becomes dislodged.

"Up to 30 chest compressions," Francis said.

So what if you're alone and you start choking? Experts say you should use the same technique .Make a fist with your hand. Place your thumb inward above your belly button, then take your other hand as leverage then bend over a sturdy chair and begin the thrusts.

Francis says you shouldn't try to slap a person's back if they are choking. Because the object could go deeper. However, other medical experts dispute this claim.

"The Heimlich maneuver does work. It works well. And statistics point that most of the time it is going to work," Francis added.

What about infants?

Health experts tell us if a baby is choking, you should turn them over on their backs and give them five back blows. Then turn them over and perform five chest compressions on their stomachs.

If the baby is unconscious, call 911 immediately.

The Heimlich has saved hundreds of thousands of lives over the years. And you never know when you might need to use it

For more information about the Heimlich maneuver, just log onto the America Heart Association's Heimlich website: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4605

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  • by Joe Location: Lynn Haven on Dec 17, 2009 at 06:52 AM
    The American Heart Association no longer uses the term "the Heimlich Maneuver" (i think because of a lawsuit) and now calls it the Abdominal Thrust. If you check out their website, you will see that even they call it this (with an "also known as the “Heimlich maneuver” thrown in there). http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4605
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