Many people believe the “Heimlich manoeuvre” is the only viable option to help save a choking victim. Turns out, that’s not really the case. Following is a transcript of the video.
What’s the right way to save a choking victim’s life? It turns out, the Heimlich manoeuvre is not the only approach — and it may not even be the best one.
Repeated blows to the back could be equally useful in a dangerous situation. You might be thinking that back blows will only lodge the food deeper into a person’s trachea. But this is a myth perpetuated by Dr. Henry Heimlich.
According to reports from Dr. Heimlich’s youngest son, Peter Heimlich, the founder of the Heimlich manoeuvre spent years trying to discredit back blows, publicly denouncing them as “death blows.”
He even funded a study in the ’80s that showed back blows could do more harm to a choking victim than good. But in truth, there is no valid scientific evidence to prove that back blows are any better, or worse, than the Heimlich manoeuvre. Needless to say, Dr. Heimlich’s questionable actions led the American Red Cross to make a big change to its first-aid protocols in 2006.
Up to then, the Red Cross had — for 20 years — only recommended the Heimlich for choking victims.
But in 2006, it made two big changes:
First, it removed “Heimlich” from the name “Heimlich manoeuvre” and relabeled the method as “abdominal thrusts.”
Second, it changed its protocols so that the recommended way to save a choking victim’s life is now a 2-step process:
Step 1: Administer 5 blows to the back by hitting the palm of your hand against the area between the shoulder blades.
If Step 1 does not fix the problem, move on to Step 2:
Perform 5 abdominal thrusts by first placing your fist around someone’s stomach with your thumb against the middle of the abdomen — above the naval. Then, wrap your other hand around the fist and thrust upward.
If the food is still stuck, repeat the process starting with Step 1.
If the victim falls unconscious, start performing chest compressions with rescue breaths.
First, lift the chin and tilt the head to open the airway. Pinch the nose shut. Make a complete seal over the person’s mouth and blow air for about 1 second. Perform 30 chest compressions, pushing hard and fast in the middle of the chest. Look for and remove objects in the airway.
If breaths don’t make the chest rise, repeat the process.
You should also consider calling 911, and do so immediately if the person passes out from lack of oxygen.
Time is of the essence. Act fast, and you may just save a life.
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