The doctor who saved many lives and wanted to cure AIDS with Malaria

Imagine you are in a restaurant and suddenly the person who is having dinner with you chokes and starts to turn purple. You don't have to be a great medical genius to know that in such cases people usually hug the drowning from behind and press their abdominals so that anything that gets stuck in their throat is thrown out.

This technique is known as the Heimlich Maneuver and since its creator, physician Henry Heimlich, put it into practice and proved that it worked, many lives are saved around the world with the famous "squeeze".

Who was this guy?

Heimlich was born in 1920 and devoted much of his life to working as a surgeon, even working for the Navy. During this time, he invented a valve that could prevent blood and air from coming into contact with chest wounds.

In addition, he created a special catheter that could help people with breathing problems, and also developed a way to help patients who had problems swallowing food. For that, he replaced the esophagus with a piece of stomach. That is: Heimlich was the guy.


The doctor's interest in saving drowning victims began when he discovered that at that time, 2, 500 people drowned in restaurants each year. To reach the positive outcome of his maneuver, Heimlich trained with his dog, which, after sedation, had a ball of meat lodged in its throat. The ball was caught by a string, so even if the doctor's plans didn't work out, he could pull the food out of the dog's mouth.

The expectation was that the air in the animal's lungs would be enough to propel the meatball out. And that is exactly what happened. Excited, the doctor reported his technique in a medical journal, and soon the technique he created was headline in major US newspapers.

The first person to save another with the procedure was Isaac Piha, who had read about it in the newspaper, and when he heard shouts for help, he applied the maneuver to a drowning woman, which saved her life.

The success of the technique developed by the doctor eventually made him a famous person. Heimlich soon began giving interviews in newspapers and radio programs. More and more people are learning his method, and even some famous people, such as singer Cher, have claimed to have used the maneuver to save drowning victims.

Other side

What many people do not know is that Heimlich was so fascinated with his maneuver that he believed he could find a cure for other diseases. He said, for example, that tightening in the abdomen could prevent asthma, when in fact it is already known that asthma is caused by chronic inflammation, which should not go with squeezing.

The doctor also believed that his technique could be applied to drowning victims, which has proven to be more harmful than effective. When a person is drowning, their lungs do not fill with water, contrary to what you can imagine. The truth is that in these situations the throat closes to prevent the victim from swallowing water. In such cases, practicing Heimlich's maneuver is the same as wasting time.

In the 1980s, Heimlich announced that he had discovered nothing less than a cure for cancer, Lyme disease, and even AIDS! According to him, the solution to all these diseases was malaria.

As well?

Heimlich believed that infecting patients with the malaria-causing parasite would cause a very high fever that, if kept for three weeks, would kill any virus or cancer cell. To prove that he was right, the doctor performed several unauthorized tests on patients from China and Ethiopia.

Heimlich's risky method has been condemned by the medical community around the world. Heimlich's own son Peter said his father was a big fraud. Even the Red Cross has even changed its stance on the famous maneuver named after the doctor.

The institution concluded that back slaps are more effective than tightening and should be the first aid option in such cases. In addition, the Red Cross renamed Heimlich's maneuver and simply called it "abdominal compression."

Asked about changing patterns and questioning their treatments, Heimlich replied that "creative ideas are often attacked because people oppose change or do not understand new concepts." So, had you ever heard of this story? What do you think of her?