Saturday marks national Heimlich Maneuver Day
Submitted by Melinda Zemper, contributor
It happened so fast.
Anne Jutt was having lunch with three of her family’s six young children May 15 when six-year-old Will choked on a cherry tomato.
“I told him to cough it out, but he couldn’t. So I performed the Heimlich maneuver twice, but there was nothing,” she said.
The Mason mom performed the Heimlich maneuver one more time. The tomato shot out of Will’s mouth.
“We both cried for a long time. It was the scenario every parent thinks about, but is never prepared for,” said Jutt.
Jutt said she and her husband Mike, a hair care manager at P&G, had taken a general first aid training course when she was pregnant with their first baby a dozen years ago.
“It was the only training I’d ever had with the Heimlich maneuver,” she said. “I know my technique was not perfect, but when I found the right spot, it worked. We are so very thankful for the doctor.”
She means Dr. Henry Heimlich, the Cincinnati thoracic surgeon who developed the Heimlich maneuver in 1974 with a team of Jewish Hospital researchers. Saturday is national Heimlich Maneuver Day.
Anne Jutt did the right thing, said Heimlich.
“Backslaps only drive food or other items deeper and tighter in the airway, causing imminent death,” he said. “There is no known report or study that proves backslaps have saved a choking person.”
He challenges both a recent recommendation by the American Heart Association to perform backslaps, then CPR on an infant choking victim, and an American Red Cross recommendation of five backslaps, then five Heimlich maneuvers as first responses to help a choking victim.
The Hyde Park physician claims the procedure and its abdominal thrusts – into the stomach above the navel and up against the diaphragm to force air from the lungs and remove obstructions – have saved the lives of 100,000 potential choking victims.
Jutt said she’s now more cautious about the foods she serves her children.
“Everything looks like a choke hazard now and we talk a lot about chewing,” she said. “We’re just thankful he’s okay.”
Cliff Radel contributed