Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Boise Weekly: My inquiry triggers city investigation of drowning in which a fireman "Heimlich-ed" the victim


Clip from Police officer, firefighter team up to rescue man in canal by reporter Scott Evans, KTVB News, Boise, ID, June 25, 2014:

Via Question Triggers Probe into Drowning by reporter Harrison Berry in today's Boise Weekly:

In the late afternoon of June 23, Ada County Paramedics pulled Felix Martinez from the New York Canal.

He wasn't breathing. He had no pulse.

By the time Boise firefighter Brent Matthews dove into the canal, Martinez had been flowing with the current for an undetermined amount of time.

...Matthews said he used the Heimlich maneuver -- an emergency technique in which abdominal thrusts are repeated until a blockage is pushed out of a choking victim's airway -- until sand and other debris poured out of Martinez's mouth. Matthews then performed CPR for 25 minutes until he believed the victim had a pulse. Martinez was quickly loaded into an ambulance and taken to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.

Martinez's condition worsened; within five days, he was dead.

...Martinez, a homeless man, may not have attracted much attention prior to the incident, but because of the circumstances of his rescue, he has been the subject of a formal inquiry -- in large part because of Peter Heimlich, son of Dr. Henry Heimlich, for whom the maneuver is named.

...(Peter) Heimlich said when he first saw KTVB's report on the rescue, including the interview with Boise firefighter Matthews, he was incredulous.

"My first question was, 'What articles is [Matthews] talking about?"

Heimlich fired off a request for an inquest into the rescue and death of Martinez to the office of Mayor Dave Bieter...[Boise Weekly] confirmed that a copy of the request was received by Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg.

"A fireman is a city employee. He used an unapproved drowning-rescue treatment on a patient. At this point, there are no parties interested in finding out why Mr. Matthews performed this treatment on Mr. Martinez, and I think there needs to be some governmental oversight," Sonnenberg told Boise Weekly.

...Heimlich's attempts to spur an investigation by the Boise Fire Department have been successful, and an incident review is taking place so BFD can better discern the facts of the case.

Via reporter Tom Jackman's June 3, 2011 Washington Post article:

In Tampa, which has one of the highest drowning rates in the country, Dr. James Orlowski said he has documented nearly 40 cases where rescuers performing the Heimlich maneuver have caused complications for the victim. Orlowski is chief of pediatrics and pediatric intensive care at University Community Hospital in Tampa.

Click here for my compilation of reports and statements by medical and water safety organizations re: the use of the Heimlich maneuver to revive near-drowning victims. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"You're dumber than dirt": president of controversial lifeguard training company hurls insults at NBC Houston reporter

Via Lifeguards Trained In Controversial Procedure by Cindy Weightman, WBGO News (Newark, NJ Public Radio), June 30, 2014:

You’ve probably heard of the Heimlich Maneuver, a procedure commonly used when someone is choking on food.  What may surprise you is that the procedure is also being taught by at least one lifeguard training agency to respond to drownings.  The National Aquatic Safety Company, or NASCO, which trains lifeguards at four New Jersey waterparks, has been criticized for using a procedure that has been condemned almost universally in the medical community, including by the American Red Cross.

...Despite frequent opposition from the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association and other groups, NASCO continues to use the procedure. But what’s even stranger is that waterparks that have been criticized in the past for using the procedure, defend NASCO. Lou Cirigliano is the Director of Operations at Breakwater Beach, a waterpark in Seaside Heights.

“Just because the Red Cross has one opinion, that’s not the final answer. You’re gonna go to get open heart surgery, you’re probably going to go to two doctors who give you two different opinions. We use NASCO. Our park’s safety record speaks for itself. NASCO’s safety record speaks for itself.”
Asked whether it is worth the risk to continue using NASCO in spite of the controversy…

“If you want to talk to talk to NASCO, I’m going to direct you to them.

...I tried for several weeks to get in touch with NASCO before I finally got through to the company’s founder, John Hunsucker who told me they do not give interviews and I am wasting my time, right before he hung up on me.

Via Lifeguard training company won't abandon use of controversial technique by Joel Eisenbaum, KPRC News (Houston NBC affiliate), July 11, 2014:






There are two factual errors in Eisenbaum's otherwise solid report -- one's in the video version, one's in the text version. I've got a corrections request in to Rhonda LaVelle, Assistant News Director at KPRC and will report the results.

Click here for my compilation of media reports about NASCO's "Heimlich protocol."

Click here for my compilation of reports and statements by medical and water safety organizations re: the use of the Heimlich maneuver to revive near-drowning victims.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Incendiary motion filed last week by Annabel Melongo's attorney requesting permission to extensively cross-examine Carol Spizzirri in high-profile criminal case

Even if you're new to the case, three words of advice: READ THIS MOTION.

In days to come, I plan to blog about specific sections of the motion, which was filed on June 25, 2014 by attorney Jennifer Bonjean re: the computer tampering charges filed against her client, Annabel Melongo, about eight years ago by Cook County, IL. To direct download a copy of the motion, click here.

Click here for a compilation of media reports about the Melongo case posted on my web site -- the first is a March 14, 2012 interview I did with a Rockford, IL, newspaper that includes the history of the computer tampering allegations which originated with Save-A- Life Foundation (SALF) founder/president Carol J. Spizzirri, a former politically-connected media darling in Chicago who now lives in a trailer park in San Marcos, CA. Click here for a compilation of media reports about SALF and Spizzirri.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Eight years after iffy computer tampering charges were filed against her by a former Chicago big shot who now lives in a trailer park, Annabel Melongo's case is scheduled for trial next week

Still of Annabel Melongo via the November 7-8, 2012 investigative report, Jailed For Recording Law Enforcement Parts I & 2 by Patrick Fazio, NBC2 Terre Haute, IN

Check out this anonymous e-mail I received yesterday. (If you're not familiar with the Annabel Melongo case, click here for my compilation of media reports.)
1. Melongo's Computer Tampering case, the case that spawned the Eavesdropping case, is set for trial a week from tomorrow: June 24th, 2014. The case is nearly eight years old, has seen SIX judges, FIVE private lawyers and FOUR prosecutors. Carol Spizzirri, the criminal complainant, can’t plead the Fifth nor refuse to testify; therefore, this trial set the stage to know about the millions of dollars siphoned out of Save A Life Foundation. To learn more about this case, click here.

2. Additionally, Melongo has filed a Civil Right lawsuit based on the recently dismissed Eavesdropping case by the Illinois Supreme Court. Among others, she claims Equal Protection and names prosecutors in the State Attorney and Illinois Attorney General offices as defendants. To read this conscience-shocking complaint, click here or here.

3. Melongo is represented in both cases by Jennifer Bonjean, a New York-based lawyer practicing in Illinois.
Will the trial move forward?

If so, will Carol J. Spizzirri -- a former Chicago big shot and media darling who now lives in a mobile home park in San Marcos, CA and ducks reporters -- show up to testify?

As you ponder such questions, take a few minutes to read this unusual June 11, 2010 letter and "Cyber Sabotage Activities" report (in which I and others are named as Ms. Melongo's "co-conspirators") from Spizzirri to an IL Assistant Attorney General that includes:
I'm truly grateful to Attorney General (Lisa) Madigan, (Cook County) State's Attorney Alvarez who've Invested the manpower, resources, outside forensics and special training over these years to convict Melongo.
Click here to download a copy.

Invited guests to the White House, 2005. Former Save-A-Life-Foundation Public Affairs Representative Dane Neal, my father, former SALF Director of Communications Ciprina Spizzirri, and her mother, Carol J. Spizzirri. 

Once the darling of politicians like Dick Durbin, Arne Duncan, and Paul Vallas, after Carol Spizzirri and her shady nonprofit were the subject of dozens of media exposes, she reportedly moved to this mobile home park in San Carlos, CA (photo courtesy of the San Diego Reader):

Friday, June 6, 2014

Will Annabel Melongo's federal lawuit against Cook County officials re-open the SALF scandal?

Last year The Sidebar was first to report Annabel Melongo's federal lawsuit against Cook County State's Attorneys, Sheriff Tom Dart, and other county officials.

Looks like I'm first again with the amended complaint filed yesterday by Melongo and her attorney Jennifer Bonjean which includes the complete timeline of the case, including the almost two years she spent in jail for posting recordings of benign phone conversations on the Internet, the result of being prosecuted under a statute that has been overturned as unconstitutional by the IL Supreme Court.

The 21-page document also details the roles of Carol J. Spizzirri and her Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF); the organization's relationships with current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, and former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman; ABC7 reporter Chuck Goudie's SALF exposes; the $9 million in tax dollars awarded to SALF; and much more.

Page down to view. Click here to download a copy.

(Circa 2005) Front row: former SALF Director of Communications Ciprina Spizzirri and her mother, Carol J. Spizzirri; Back row: former Maywood, IL mayor Ralph Conner,* former Palatine, IL mayor Rita Mullins, former SALF Public Affairs Representative Dane Neal

The complaint also takes aim at the felony computer tampering charges filed by Spizzirri against Melongo on October 31, 2006. Almost eight years later, that case appears to be headed to court, according to the website tracking Melongo's cases (click and page down).

If/when that case goes to trial, presumably Spizzirri -- who reportedly now lives in a mobile home park in San Marcos, California -- will be obligated to testify.

Click here for a compilation of media reports about the Melongo case.

Click here for a compilation of media reports about Spizzirri and SALF.

* 7/4/14 update: A previous version of this item identified former SALF Operations Director Vince Davis as the cowboy wearing the duster coat in the photo. Yesterday I received an e-mail from Davis -- seen in the video clip below escorting Carol Spizzirri when she freaks out and flees the room mid-interview -- informing me that Mayor Conner (who died in 2010) dressed up as the cowboy. 

I regret the error and I appreciate Davis -- whose June 10, 2007 e-mail about U.S. Sen. Barack Obama helping to fund SALF (see below) -- was reported in a June 25, 2013 Dubuque Telegraph Herald article -- bringing it to my attention -- PMH

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Heimlich maneuver "can kill people," according to a major Australian newspaper -- any Yank reporters care to take a look?

Erienne Lette (source)

Via Step up and save a life: why you need to do a Basic Emergency Life Support course by reporter Erienne Lette, published May 12, 2014 by PerthNow, a newspaper owned by News Corp Australia, "Australia’s number one media company" according to the company's website.

Sound like a story worth looking into by U.S. reporters?

It does to me, but, to my knowledge, it's never been reported anywhere except in the Land Down Under and here at The Sidebar.

FYI, "St John" in the article refers to St John Ambulance, "Australia’s leading provider of first aid services," according to their web site.

Click here for the organization's "non-Heimlich" recommendations for responding to a choking emergency.


Want to learn more?

I'd suggest starting with The Heimlich manoeuvre, a half-hour Australian Broadcasting audio documentary by Aviva Ziegler that first aired on July 27, 2009 and includes interviews with these notables and yours truly:

Another news hook for interested journos?

Happy anniversary!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Everything on the Internet is true


I probably wouldn't turn down those royalties, but to date I've never asked for or received any. And if any other members of my family have, it's news to me.

Therefore, the above claims seem to be a so-called urban myth.

Where did it get started?

Best guess is this item...

...published here: