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Seattle Inventor Receives Henry J. Heimlich Award for Innovative Medicine

Henry J. Heimlich, M.D.
Henry J. Heimlich, M.D.

This April, PCRM established the Henry J. Heimlich Award for Innovative Medicine. Its first recipient is Seattle inventor Chris Toly.

Dr. Henry Heimlich is known the world over for inventing the Heimlich maneuver, an abdominal thrust used to save drowning and choking victims. Yet this famous procedure is only one in a long list of life-saving inventions by the Cornell-trained surgeon. There’s the valve he developed to drain blood and air from a chest wound, the method of teaching stroke victims to swallow again, and the tiny tube that helps patients breathe under local anesthesia. His ability to find innovative and surprisingly simple solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems has saved countless lives.

Dr. Heimlich’s work with PCRM began in the late 1980s when he spoke out against the cruel dog-drowning experiments some had proposed for testing the Heimlich maneuver. He later helped with PCRM’s campaign to end the use of animals in medical laboratories. The embodiment of innovation, Dr. Heimlich inspires researchers and medical students to break convention, think creatively, and focus on what counts: saving lives.

Chris Toly
Henry J. Heimlich Award Recipient

Chris Toly
Chris Toly

Seattle inventor Chris Toly has helped save both human and animal lives with a synthetic model of a human torso known as TraumaMan. Featuring simulated skin, subcutaneous fat, muscles, and organs, TraumaMan bleeds when cut and is used annually by more than 12,000 doctors to practice their trauma skills. It is the only simulator approved by the American College of Surgeons for use in its advanced trauma life support courses; it is one of several cutting-edge simulators designed by Toly.

Chris Toly is president and chief executive officer of Simulab Corporation, an internationally renowned manufacturer of surgical simulators and medical training models. Toly joined Simulab in 1996 and has led the company through its start-up phase to its current successful status.

Born in Spokane, Washington, Toly comes from a family of entrepreneurs. A lifelong manufacturer and inventor, Toly spent over 20 years mastering reverse molding design, tool making, prototyping, and production techniques. Simulab has developed proprietary methods for manufacturing soft tissue models with extremely lifelike features and currently holds four U.S. patents, with an additional four pending. In addition to TraumaMan, Toly has designed models for practicing central vascular catheterization and laparoscopic surgical training.

Toly is committed to continued research and development of viable new methods of medical training. This, and continued dedication to finding realistic solutions for all types of surgical demonstration models, is the cornerstone of Simulab’s success.

For more information about Simulab, visit its Web site at For more information about replacing the use of animals in trauma training, please visit


Good Medicine Cover

Summer 2005
Volume XIV
Number 3

Good Medicine

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