Citizen Rescue: Clint Eastwood Performs Heimlich Maneuver; Saves Life of PGA Tour Tournament Director Steve John

Clint Eastwood attended a volunteer party on the eve of the PGA Tour event, and ended up saving the tournament director’s life with the Heimlich Maneuver. Eastwood noticed PGA Tour tournament director Steve John choking. The director was choking on a piece of cheese. Eastwood, age 83, quickly performed the Heimlich maneuver Wednesday night at the Monterey Conference Center. Steve John said that Eastwood was really strong. “I can’t believe — I’m 202 pounds — and he threw me up in the air three times,” John said.

“I was drinking water and eating these little appetizers, threw down a piece of cheese and it just didn’t work. I was looking at him and couldn’t breathe. He recognized it immediately and saved my life.”

— Steve John

Performing abdominal thrusts involves a rescuer standing behind a patient and using his or her hands to exert pressure on the bottom of the diaphragm — sometimes in an upward motion as if trying to lift the victim. The action compresses the lungs and exerts pressure with the intent of expelling food that his blocking the trachea.

To assist a larger person, more force may be needed. Recommendations also include trying alternation between five back blows, five abdominal thrusts, five back blows, and continuing until the food is dislodge or paramedics arrive.

Dr. Henry Judah Heimlich first published his views about the maneuver in a June 1974 informal article in Emergency Medicine entitled, “Pop Goes the Cafe Coronary”. On June 19, 1974, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that retired restaurant-owner Isaac Piha used the procedure to rescue a choking victim, Irene Bogachus, in Bellevue, Washington — an area that has often taken the lead in emergency medical care.

Around 2005-2006 the American Heart Association and American Red Cross eliminated the term Heimlich Maneuver and started using the terms abdominal thrusts and chest thrusts.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton joins The Early Show to demonstrate the proper way to perform the Heimlich maneuver after the heroic tale of an Army Medic saving a woman’s life at a Yankee game.

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