Wisconsin Bartender Saves Choking Coworker With Imperfect Heimlich Maneuver

It wasn't perfect — but it worked. An expert shows Inside Edition the correct way to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

A young man was eating a chicken sandwich in the kitchen of a Wisconsin restaurant, when it went down the wrong way and he started choking. But the man who saved his life is getting backlash for the way he came to the rescue

When 20-year-old Ashton Hoffhein put his hands around his throat, making the universal sign for choking, bartender Joseph Reinhart sprung into action. 

“I noticed that he kind of had his hands by his throat for international sign for choking and just kind of without thought, I started performing what I knew as the Heimlich maneuver,” Reinhart said.

But his heroism is also making him the target of criticism, because he didn't use the perfect technique to execute the maneuver.

Reinhart wrapped his arms around Hoffein’s chest, much higher than they were supposed to be and lifted him off the ground while squeezing. Bad technique or not, it still worked, and the piece of chicken flew out.

Watching in a complete panic at the restaurant in Sun Prairie was Hoffhein’s mom, who also works there.

A coworker dialed 911, and Hoffhein slumped to the floor — overwhelmed, but alive.

“His technique wasn’t perfect, but it did contribute to saving his life,” expert Shane Woodall of Frontline Health told Inside Edition.

Woodall showed us the correct way to do the Heimlich maneuver. You can watch the demonstration in the video player above.

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