Another pioneer dies – leaving an honourable, global and on-going legacy

On the day of John Glenn’s funeral, another pioneer died.

John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth, restored American prestige in 1962 when it seemed that the Soviet Union was moving ahead in the space race.

A lesser known pioneer died today, aged 96 years old. However, his name is known to every medical doctor in the world, and by most health service personnel. He is US doctor Henry J.Heimlich, who popularised the manoeuvre used to help victims of choking. Countless numbers of people have been saved from unnecessary death by his pioneering technique, co-developed with Dr. Edward A.Patrick, whose name is not as celebrated.

Rather than describing the technique, you may be able to see it in action in this extraordinary video recorded on a US motor cop’s dashcam (a camera mounted on the dashboard of a car) – if bt.com restore the link! The picture shows the traffic policeman doing the manoeuvre on the choking woman, which dislodged the food from her throat.

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Heimlich used the technique himself this year in his retirement home.

Henry Heimlich: wikipedia entry

Two significant deaths

There have been two significant deaths in the past three months – Christopher Hitchens and Steve Jobs.

I feel sorry for Christopher Hitchens, an intelligent atheist, who died yesterday.  He had a powerful intellect, like Richard Dawkins, but this is nothing if one is spiritually blind.  The smallest child can see the sun which a congenitally blind person cannot see.  No amount of reasoning can convince a congenitally blind person that there is a sun in the sky and a Universe to see.  They can only be convinced of it by belief of testimony – the very thing that Richard Dawkins erroneously calls blind faith.

I admired Hitchens’ forthright talk, but he trusted his rationalism which is an insufficient foundation upon which to trust.  The pity is that he never met his theological match, and thus, left to himself, he failed to find God.  He never humbled himself enough to ask God to reveal Himself to him.  The intelligent find it very difficult to humble themselves before God.  Rupert Murdoch spoke of the most humble day of his life; the day, not he, was humble.

I feel sorry for Steve Jobs.  The foremost entrepreneur of our age, who was born only two days after me, he had a profound influence upon our generation.  In one sense, he gained the whole world, but as the Lord Jesus Christ said: “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mk 8:36-37.

I know that neither of these men would want my sorrow.  It is too condescending for them.  Well, I consider that attitude condescending.  It is part of the pride of intellect.  So it doesn’t change my mind.  I feel sorry for such wasted lives, such wasted intellect.  Must I change my feelings to please such secularists?  Do they want to control my feelings as well as my thinking? That is how I feel, and it is not only true humanity that feels it, but it is also true spirituality.  “As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.  Turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die?” Ezk 33:11.

Jesus said: “If you do not believe that I am God’s appointed Messiah, you shall die in your sins” Jn 8:24.  No wonder Jesus wept over Jerusalem.  “He beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.”  Lk 19:41-42.  I feel sorrow for such people.

They are now in eternity and learning more than they ever knew here in time.

The Rage Against God: a book written by Christopher’s brother, Peter Hitchens, “describes Hitchens’s journey from the militant atheism of the far political left and bohemianism to Christianity, detailing the influences on him that led to his conversion. The book is partly intended as a response to God Is Not Great, a book written by his brother Christopher Hitchens in 2007.” Wikipedia accessed 24May2013.