That was the headline on the Associated Press article about that actual occurrence. Henry Heimlich is 96 now and is living in the Dupree House in Cincinnati, OH. He was seated next to a relative youngster, 87-year-old Patty Ris for Monday evening’s dinner.
She choked on a piece of meat and was unable to breathe. He noted her dilemma, got up and positioned himself as he had taught so many before him to do, and performed the maneuver named for him dislodging the meat.
What are the odds of such an occurrence? They must be astronomical. What are the odds that a 96-year-old former surgeon would still be physically able to perform the maneuver he developed and which has been used thousands of times over the years to help people who have choked?
Ms. Ris believes thusly: “I definitely would have died right then and there. There was no doubt about it.” She told Heimlich that: “God put me in this seat next to you.”
These are the kinds of occurrences that simply point to a greater power, and she was right so far as I am concerned. She was saved by God in a most unusual set of circumstances. Some will deny God’s role and point to this as pure happenstance. I suspect that former chest surgeon Henry Heimlich would agree he had a lot of help last Monday evening in Cincinnati.
What a fitting chapter in the life of Henry Heimlich and in the life of Patty Ris.