The Maneuver

PRODUCER: Jason Schmidt

The documentary film The Maneuver examines the inside story of a prolific life saver and American hero, Dr. Henry J. Heimlich. After developing the well-known anti-choking maneuver that bears his name, a technique that has saved countless lives, Dr. Heimlich became a celebrity physician crusading for public safety.

However, there is more to the man behind the maneuver than just a household name. Dr. Heimlich is also a medical pioneer who invented several other powerful procedures and devices during his 70-year career. These notable innovations also transformed and saved lives all over the globe.

Despite this immense influence and success, Dr. Heimlich has long remained at odds with a medical establishment that has criticized him as a publicity-seeker with unconventional ideas and research. In his later years, he has come under fire for work described as dubious and dangerous, including alternate uses for his famous Maneuver and controversial studies which inject ill patients with malaria. Dr. Heimlich has also endured a 40-year battle with an esteemed medical organization which not only watered down its endorsement of the Heimlich Maneuver itself, but refers to it by another name entirely.

Perhaps most disheartening of all, though, is that Dr. Heimlich’s biggest critic – one who wants to discredit his entire career – is a member of his own family. The Maneuver is the story of an ambitious doctor whose diligence, creativity and hard work put his name in the dictionary but now struggles to maintain a legacy that will outlast the lives of his grandchildren.