Inventor of choking aid device credited with saving more than 70 lives

NESCONSET, New York (WABC) -- A device created by a man on Long Island, has been credited with saving the lives of people all across the world.

Arthur Lih has the faces of 78 people from across the world on the wall of his office in Nesconset.

"Look at that face. God, I love this kid," Lih said pointing to a picture of a three-week-old girl.

The pictures are of people Lih said his first aid device, LifeVac, has saved.

The LifeVac is used to help people who are choking when the Heimlich Maneuver and other emergency techniques have failed. It employs the same theory of a toilet plunger.

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Eyewitness News met with Lih six years ago when he first started producing the device on Long Island.

Since then, the device has been patented and purchased by school districts, police departments, fire departments and nursing homes across Long Island.

Lih said the LifeVac has saved people in Greece, the UK, Albania and Spain.

He said the first registered save was made by a nurse in England whose name was Jackie, which is also the name of his daughter and the reason he invented LifeVac.

Lih said he could never imagine his daughter choking and dying on a piece of food.

"God wink is what I call it, saying, keep going buddy, keep going," Lih said.

LifeVac has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but it doesn't have to be as a "moderate risk device."

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Eyewitness News spoke with six-year-old Quade Glenn of Texas, who said his mother used the LifeVac to save him when he was choking on a lemon-head candy last year.

"I was really scared," Quade Glenn said.

Jennifer Glenn, Quade's mother, said she tried to give Quade water, slapped him on the back and even tried abdominal thrusts, but the candy wouldn't budge.

She then remembered she had purchased LifeVac on a whim after seeing it in a Facebook ad.

"He was a little scared at the first pull and he pushed it away and then the second pull is when I finally dislodged it," Jennifer Glenn recounted.

She said she has raised money to purchase LifeVac's for several school districts in her area.

Lih later met with Quade Glenn and has met with several other people who have been saved by LifeVac.

"It keeps me going. You hold a child that would be dead if you didn't do what you do, you come back, you're Superman. I'll work 20 hours a day again I don't care," Lih said.

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