Henry Heimlich: At 94, Cincinnati's famous, polarizing doctor still working to shape his legacy

Criticism of his work and theories persists

At 94 years old, Dr. Henry Heimlich could be expected to slow down.

After all, the retired chest surgeon has been credited with saving thousands of lives because of the Heimlich Maneuver, the technique designed to be so simple anyone could save a child choking on a toy or a dinner guest with a hunk of steak stuck in his throat.

But Heimlich made it clear in interviews with WCPO that he’s not finished shaping his legacy. He’s out to tackle a problem even more intractable: world peace.

“We have numerous wars going on that are useless, deadly and have no real basis,” he said during an interview at the Hyde Park retirement community where he lives. “Right now, the United States and China are the economically No. 1 and No. 2. I believe that we should get together and take steps to bring peace throughout the world.”

If it sounds like a challenge too big for one man to tackle, that’s classic Heimlich.

He’s a medical icon lauded by supporters as a maverick and a bold innovator and decried by critics as a man who prizes his fame and reputation above good science.

Subscribe to be an Insider to read what his critics and supporters have to say about the doctor. Insiders can also view an interactive timeline and an infographic outlining his contributions to medicine -- and what his critics say about those.


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