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Henry J Heimlich died at 96
Injury prevention involves primary, secondary or tertiary strategies. An important element in the secondary category is the Heimlich manoeuvre, introduced in 1974. Since then it has saved many lives, perhaps as many as 100 000, threatened by choking. Its founder, Henry J Heimlich, a thoracic surgeon and medical maverick, recently died at age 96. Ironically, he himself only used the manoeuvre once: saving a choking 87-year-old woman. Heimlich has many critics, partly because he was given to self-publicising. But he once commented on his contributions in these words: ‘I can do more toward saving lives in three minutes on television than I could do all my life in the operating room’.
Complaints preceded fatal school bus crash
Following a school bus crash that killed six children, it was discovered that several parents and some students had complaints about the driver. In addition, the principal expressed concern about his driving twice in the weeks before the crash. Students claimed he was trying to injure them and had cursed them. The crash occurred when the bus, on an unapproved route, hit a tree at such a speed that the bus split in half. The driver faces several vehicular homicide and related charges. Comment: For the record, the driver also complained about the unsafe behaviour of many students.
Pedestrian deaths are too often overlooked because we live in a car-centred culture. The public often views these deaths as purely ‘accidental’. In Toronto, 41 pedestrians have been killed this year. This is only slightly below the homicide rate. Pedestrian deaths may be increasing as passenger and driver deaths fall. In the USA, there were 23 240 pedestrian deaths between 2010 and 2014. Most often the driver is responsible because of distractions, inattention, speeding, ignoring a red light, not stopping when turning onto a busy street or not giving pedestrians the right of …
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.