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Heimlich's first time using maneuver? Maybe not

Posted: 2:02 PM, Jun 28, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-28 20:06:26Z

CINCINNATI -- Maybe Henry Heimlich simply misremembered. Or maybe news reports from the early 2000s simply weren't true.

Either way, there's an irresolvable conflict: When did Dr. Heimlich first perform his namesake maneuver?

A month ago, just a few days before National Heimlich Maneuver Day, the Cincinnati doctor said he'd finally used it for the first time. He's 96 years old, and he invented the move to help choking victims more than 40 years ago.

Pretty incredible that he hadn't used it before then, right?

Except Heimlich apparently  told the BBC in 2003 he'd performed it three years earlier, in 2000. 

"I was in this club restaurant eating when I heard someone calling 'Dr. Heimlich,'" the BBC quoted him as saying back then. "I turned around and saw a man choking, so I did the Heimlich maneuver and got it out and then went on and had my lunch."

Several other media outlets also covered that earlier story.

Heimlich said, in his most recent life-saving move in late May, the victim was seated next to him at Deupree House in Hyde Park.

The doctor's son, Phil Heimlich, said he, his sister and father have no recollection of the incident 16 years ago.

"It would have been a major news story, so we would have remembered," he said.

Dr. Henry Heimlich is a retired surgeon and World War II veteran who served as a Lieutenant JG in the Navy from 1942-46. Now widowed, he and his wife had four children.