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27 February 2006

Heimlich's Manoeuvre and other kinky positions

Heimlich's manoeuvre is a simple procedure that everyone's heard of, but if you don't know exactly what it entails, this article is for you.

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You might just need to know Heimlich's manoeuvre and other kinky positions when someone chokes on a piece of food this holiday season. It's a simple procedure that everyone's heard of, but if you don't know exactly what it entails, this article is dedicated to saving thy neighbour's life.

Choking often happen at parties, and the possibility exists that you might not be too sober when it happens, so keep reading to make sure you know what to do when you're confronted with someone choking on a piece of food.

Just a word of caution: make sure that the person is actually choking before you attempt to save their life.

So, here it is - Heimlich's manoeuvre for beginners and other kinky people.

In the case of adults:

  • Encourage the person to cough if he/she can still follow orders.
  • Stand behind the person and wrap your arms around his/her waist.
  • Make a fist with one hand and grasp the fist with the other hand.
  • Place the thumb side of your fist against the person's abdomen in the mid-line just above the navel and below the sternum.
  • Make sure that your hand is not against the breastbone or lower rib cage as you might end up breaking the person's rib. Also make sure that you stay in the centre of the abdomen, as you don't want to hurt the person's liver or spleen.
  • Administer a series of upward thrusts until the food dislodges (up to 10).

Unconscious people:

  • Lay the person on his/her back.
  • Kneel astride the person's thighs facing his/her face.
  • Place the heel of your hand in the mid-line just above the person's navel as mentioned in the steps above.
  • Place the one hand on top of the other.
  • Administer a series of quick upward thrusts until the food dislodges (up to 10).
  • Remove the food from the person's mouth with your finger, taking care not to push it in any deeper.

Small children or babies

  • Hold the baby with its abdomen over your arm and resting on your thigh (face and head down).
  • Deliver 4 blows to the back in-between the shoulder blades in quick succession with your other hand or until the food dislodges. If the food dislodges, but the person doesn't start breathing immediately, you will have to start with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

This is very seldom necessary because as soon as the food dislodges, the person will inhale deeply. Just remember, if you do this properly you will save someone from choking to death (something that happens more often than you'd think). Take them to hospital immediately afterwards to check for any damage caused by the procedure. Damage is likely.

Dr Bram van Niekerk - 12 December 2000

 
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