Heimlich Manoeuvre


d8d50466-630a-43ff-a98a-ceeb3f5c6ce2My son Pravin was in a restaurant having lunch with his client. They were discussing the stock market when suddenly he saw the client coughing, and his face turned red. My son didn’t understand at first what was wrong, and then he noticed the client was drinking water. But why was the water coming out of the nose? he wondered. He sensed something was not right, got up in an instant, caught hold of him and hit him on the back. Fortunately, it struck him, the client was choking on the food he had eaten. But after a moment, Pravin knew the technique used by him was not helping the client, and he continued to cough.  He was seventy-five years old, and Pravin was scared to strike him hard.

Pravin felt he was wasting time, and something had to be done immediately. And then in a flash, he remembered the scene in a movie “Mrs. Doubtfire,” which he had seen many years back.  A gentleman choked on a shrimp, and Mrs. Doubtfire used the ‘Heimlich manoeuvre,’ a first aid procedure for dislodging an obstruction from that person’s windpipe in which a sudden strong pressure is applied on his abdomen, between the navel and the rib get the food out. Without wasting any time, Pravin held the client from the back close to him, and closing his fist exerted pressure on his tummy right below the ribs with an upward thrust. The food particle came out with a jerk, and the client felt relieved. The client thanked my son, and requested him to sit down and complete the lunch. After a nice discussion they parted ways.

The next day Pravin got a call from the same client. He invited him to his club for lunch. He wondered why the client was calling him again, and thought he must be needing some more advice on investment. But when they met, Pravin was taken aback. The client gave him a small gift, and when he opened it, he was surprised to see a silver beer mug. And on it was engraved, “Pravin, your ‘Heimlich’ saved my life. Forever grateful.” It struck Pravin only then, that he had actually saved a life. He felt touched and thanked him.

My son has an uncanny ability to notice people when they are in danger. Last year he was relaxing with his children in Phuket, when he saw a small girl who was playing nearby missing. He looked around for her but she was nowhere to be seen. How did she go missing so fast? he thought. Then he looked at the pool. And just the way he thought, he saw her at the nick of time bobbing up and down in the water. He jumped in and saved her. The parents came running from the other end because they heard him asking for the child’s parents.  They were involved in their conversation, and they had not noticed their daughter had slipped away. They were tourists from another country, and they thanked him for the timely help.

When he related these stories to me the warm gesture of the client with whom he had lunch, touched my heart. People and our dear ones, forget easily all the good things we do. But one flaw caused inadvertently will be remembered for life.

To be grateful, remember and then show concern very few can do.

When someone helps “Thank you” comes quickly to us but we also forget very fast. That’s human nature. However, being grateful is the most beautiful quality one can have.

















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