Dr. Henry Heimlich Demonstrates Anti-Choking Technique

Dr. Henry Heimlich Maneuvering

I'd like to share some of the background of this photo. Dr. Henry Heimlich was 59 and quite nationally known, getting wide media coverage for his popular and successful technique (the Heimlich Maneuver) of abdominal thrusts which became a life-saving technique for stopping choking. It was July, 1979, and I was working with Chicago's then Office for Senior Citizens and Handicapped. I attended the annual Illinois Department on Aging convention, held in Peoria, to gather information and to network. But I was, as well, an avid photographer and took my Minolta SRT-101 camera and rudimentary lenses and a flash pretty much on every trip---whether job-related or not. I had anticipated a dry, descriptive speech by Dr. Heimlich, the guest speaker, but was pleasantly surprised when he picked, at random, a delegate at the conference to demonstrate the technique. The young woman was apparently amused by the whole experience and the resulting picture seems to evince mirth rather than any imminent danger. Nevertheless, that photo became one of my favorites over the years, and I suspected that regardless of the circumstances of the demonstration, it made a serious point and would someday be very much appreciated. Dr. Heimlich died at 96 on December 17, 2016.

Photo credits: Laurence Agron.

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