Thursday, April 9, 2015

Two days after my investigation request, the National Library of Medicine has replaced its "unconscious Heimlich" treatment recommendation

As I reported yesterday, on April 6 I filed a request with the directors of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) to investigate this treatment recommendation which has been posted on the NLM's website since at least June 22, 2000:


I asked for an investigation because the "unconscious Heimlich" is reportedly not recommended by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross, I'm unaware of any research that supports the treatment recommendation, and when I've asked A.D.A.M. Inc. -- the health care information company that supplied the information -- to provide me with citations to research that supports their treatment recommendation, I can't get an answer.

Yesterday the page was updated -- here's proof:



Here's what the page looks like now:


Among other unanswered questions, it's unclear on what basis the "unconscious Heimlich" treatment was ever recommended by the NIH/NLM.

Unless the agencies can produce legitimate evidence in the form of published research, it appears that for over 15 years they've been recommending an experimental medical treatment.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Has the National Library of Medicine been recommending an experimental medical treatment for at least 15 years? I've requested an investigation

source

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, has been a center of information innovation since its founding in 1836. The world’s largest biomedical library, NLM maintains and makes available a vast print collection and produces electronic information resources on a wide range of topics that are searched billions of times each year by millions of people around the globe. (source)

For at least 15 years, the NLM has recommended performing the Heimlich maneuver on unconscious choking victims based on information provided health information provider A.D.A.M. Inc.

A.D.A.M. was among the first group of companies to receive URAC accreditation for health information, and has maintained its accreditation since that time. The URAC accreditation seal indicates that A.D.A.M.'s consumer health products are in compliance with 49 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified in an independent audit by URAC (www.urac.org). URAC performs this audit every 2 years.

A.D.A.M.'s goal is to present evidence-based health information. Therefore, content in A.D.A.M. products is created by identifying the best available evidence from national guidelines, government agencies, and peer-reviewed literature, and then asking our writers and reviewers to create content based both on the quality of the evidence and its applicability to everyday practice.
(source)

The use of the Heimlich maneuver to revive unconscious choking victims is reportedly not recommended by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross, and I'm unaware of any research in which the treatment has been tested, so in recent months I've attempted to learn the basis for the NLM's recommendation.

In years 2000, 2005, and 2007 the information was reviewed and approved by this series of physicians who presumably were hired by A.D.A.M.




When I recently asked Dr. Perez to provide me with supporting information, he replied:
To my knowledge, there is no definitive evidence for or against performing abdominal thrusts (on an) unconscious patient.
So on what evidence did he -- and the other doctors -- approve the treatment recommendation?

Isla Ogilvie PhD (source)

After receiving Dr. Perez's reply, I received a January 16 e-mail from Isla Ogilvie PhD, A.D.A.M.'s Strategic Content Director, informing me the information was being reviewed.

Since then, in several e-mails, I've asked her this question:
Did A.D.A.M. research the literature on the subject of "the Heimlich" for unconscious choking victims? If so, would you please send me citations to any relevant articles or studies?  
I haven't received a reply so a couple days ago I sent an investigation request letter with supporting documents to the directors of NLM and NIH. (Click here to download a copy.)

Via my letter:
1) This is to respectfully request that your offices review the following information and provide me with a determination whether or not the treatment recommendation meets the standards of your agencies.

2) If the treatment recommendation does not meet those standards, this is to respectfully request that your offices investigate how the information came to be published on the NLM website; the basis for A.D.A.M.'s recommendation of the treatment for at least 15 years; all details regarding URAC's review of the information; and that I be provided with the results of those findings.
I'm also looking into how much the NIH pays A.D.A.M. and will report the results.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

BREAKING: UK tabloids report another "dog rescues choking master" story -- and an April Fool's Day invitation to media pranksters (UPDATE: I've nominated the lifesaving lab for an award)


Last April I blogged UK stupid press tricks? Three separate "dogs rescue their masters from choking" stories in the past four months about articles in the Daily Mirror, the Carmarthen Journal, and the Daily Star.

According to today's Daily Mirror and Daily Mail -- see the video above and the following screen shots -- the four-legged lifesaving spree continues!

source: Daily Mirror




source: Daily Mail

To my knowledge, the first recorded "dog rescues choking master" case was in 2007, when Debbie Parkhurst of Calvert, Maryland, claimed her pooch "Toby leapt up and down on her chest, dislodging the chunk of apple that had lodged in her throat."

The story was widely reported and even landed her and Toby an appearance on the Letterman show.

source

I have no reason to doubt the veracity of any of these stories. Plus they provide me with fun, bloggable material.

On the other hand, it's not so difficult to fake a choking rescue to gin up media attention.

For example, my father and country music star Luke Bryant apparently did.

Which leads me to this April Fool's Day challenge to merry pranksters out there.

Make up a story that your pet saved you from choking and get it reported by a mainstream news outlet.

Share the results with me and I'll likely blog it. (Click here for my contact info.)

So don't just stand there wagging your tail. Unleash your wits and see if any reporters roll over.

###

4/2/15 UPDATE:  As two eagle-eyed Sidebar readers (both of whom are journalists) wrote me, contrary to the headlines and text of the Mirror and Mail stories, Lexi the lab did not "Heimlich" his master.

The "Heimlich manoeuvre" (UK spelling) is an abdominal thrust -- a squeeze below the rib cage. Mr. Spencer's precocious pooch reportedly jumped on his back.

As it happens, Lexi's actions were in compliance with the first aid guidelines of St John Ambulance UK which, like the American Red Cross, recommends back blows as the first treatment response to a choking emergency.

One of the sharp-eyed readers also suggested that Lexi be presented with a lifesaving award, so I'm sending a nomination to St John Ambulance UK and will report the results.

Also on Lexi's behalf, yesterday I submitted corrections requests to the Mirror and the Mail. More about that later....

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thousands of Texas students to be trained by controversial first aid program -- I've asked the state health department to jump in

(From my letter today to the Texas Department of Public Health Services, posted below -- click here to download a copy.)

This is to request your help regarding a first aid program that's scheduled to be presented next month to thousands of Texas students.

1) Via Heimlich maneuver on unconscious persons causes controversy by Nick Kammerer, Rambler Newspapers (Irvine), November 24, 2014:

Heimlich Heroes, a Cincinnati-based first aid program developed partly by Henry Heimlich, is teaching students to perform the Heimlich maneuver on unconscious choking victims. This means that school children are being taught a medical practice that is not recommended by the American Heart Association or Red Cross, two highly credible public health organizations.
2) Eric Perez MD is an emergency medicine specialist at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York City who reviews medical treatments published by the National Library of Medicine (under the aegis of the National Institutes of Health). Per a February 3, 2015 item I reported on my blog, Dr. Perez recently wrote me, “To my knowledge, there is no definitive evidence for or against performing abdominal thrusts (on) unconscious patient(s).”

Further, to my knowledge the Heimlich Heroes program has never been reviewed or approved by any licensed physicians.

Therefore, it appears the program is using students to circulate an unapproved, experimental medical treatment.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Before Lyin' Brian Williams was outed, I tagged Apparently Lyin' Luke Bryan for dubious choking rescue claim published by People Country magazine [UPDATE: Jim Romenesko picks up my item]

2/10/15 UPDATE: Media watchdog Jim Romenesko picked up my "Lyin' Bryan?" item.


######


Via the October 2012 issue of People Country magazine:


Here are my items to date about my unsuccessful attempts to verify Bryan's claim:

September 23, 2012: Who's the "mystery friend" that rescued Nashville singing star Luke Bryan from choking? His people won't tell me and the editor of People Country -- the magazine that broke the story -- isn't interested

November 8, 2012: Was country music star Luke Bryan lyin' about being rescued from choking? Not even his mother will back up the story

January 29, 2013: Nashville singer Luke Bryan's managers refuse to back up his "Heimlich choking rescue" story -- and an invitation to reporters to slice this baloney

August 29, 2013: Was Billboard #1 singer Luke Bryan lyin' about being saved in a dramatic choking rescue? He won't answer me, so any reporters or fans want to ask him? Here's his tour schedule and contact info

Obviously I don't have the swat to get an answer from Team Bryan, so along the way I've sent the information to reporters in Nashville and elsewhere. To my knowledge, no one has followed-up.

What happens next?

A. Nothing.

B. A journalist asks Team Bryan for the who/what/where/when, perhaps contacts me for a reaction comment, and reports the results.

C. Someone writes him a "Dear Luke" fan letter asking him the following questions, forwards the correspondence to me, and I blog the results:
- What was the date of the choking incident?
- What's the name and location of the pizza restaurant?
- What's the name of your friend who performed the Heimlich maneuver?
- Based on your description ("I went down"), did you lose consciousness?
- Did you subsequently seek medical care? If so, what's the name of the doctor who examined you?
Re: options B and C, here are the offices of Red Light Management, based in Charlottesville, VA, the entertainment company that handles Bryan.

source

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Cincinnati's Heimlich Heroes program falls for Onion-style "news story" that Bill Murray saved a choking victim in Phoenix using "the Heimlich" [UPDATE: How pathetic is this?]

Yesterday I blogged about the recklessness and incompetence of a Cincinnati first aid organization called Heimlich Heroes that's mistraining thousands of kids around the country.

Posted a couple days ago on the group's Facebook page:


Only one problem.

The story's a spoof that originated two years ago from an Onion-style "news" outlet:


Via:


2/10/15 UPDATE: How pathetic is this? 

Days after I blogged the above item, here's a screenshot of the same Facebook post, but with some added words:


Hey there, Heimlich Heroes! 

Even though you're an incompetent operation that's mistraining students around the country, I'm glad you're following my blog -- I can use all the readers I can get. 

But when you get snookered, why not just laugh it off instead of trying to lie your way out of it?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Is Cincinnati's Heimlich Heroes training program using thousands of kids around the country to circulate an experimental medical treatment? Plus the National Institutes of Health tags the group for misrepresentation

Via Heimlich family maneuvers by Peter Korn, Portland Tribune,


source

I've been unable to locate any published research studies supporting that treatment recommendation. (If you know of any, please send me citations.)  

Via the website of the affiliated Heimlich Heroes first aid training program:


Click here for a page on the organization's website listing dozens of cities and towns where kids have been or will be trained. The list doesn't identify who conducted the training or at what facility or school.

Via this clip from training videos posted on their website, Heimlich Heroes is teaching kids around the country to "Heimlich" unconscious choking victims:




According to her LinkedIn bio, Heimlich Heroes program director Terri Huntington has no medical training and her last job was working for a multi-level marketing company called The Pampered Chef.

When I asked her for any evidence supporting the use of "the Heimlich" to revive unconscious choking victims, she instructed me to go away.

Eric Perez MD is an emergency medicine specialist at Mount Sinai St. Luke's Hospital in New York City who reviews medical treatments posted on the website of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (under the aegis of the National Institutes of Health):
To my knowledge, there is no definitive evidence for or against performing abdominal thrusts in unconscious patient.
Via Heimlich maneuver on unconscious persons causes controversy by Nick Kammerer, Rambler Newspapers, Irvine, TX, November 24, 2014:
Certain entities, such as the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross, do not recommend using the Heimlich maneuver on unconscious patients......Heimlich Heroes, a Cincinnati-based first aid program developed partly by Henry Heimlich, is teaching students to perform the Heimlich maneuver on unconscious choking victims. This means that school children are being taught a medical practice that is not recommended by the American Heart Association or Red Cross, two highly credible public health organizations.
Based on the above, unless I'm missing something, Heimlich Heroes appears to be using young people around the country to circulate an experimental, unapproved medical treatment.

The program was also recently tagged by the National Institutes of Health for circulating false information.

Here's a claim that, until recently, was posted on the Heimlich Heroes website's FAQ page:


Via a recent FOIA request I filed with the NIH:



The Heimlich Heroes FAQ web page has since changed the claim to:


I'll fact-check that claim with those three organizations and report the results.