Sunday, January 20, 2019

A hole worth plugging? Many UK newspapers can "disappear" online news stories with impunity; today I asked the presiding authority to take a look

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January 20, 2019

Jonathan Grun
Secretary
Editors' Code Committee c/o News Media Association
292 Vauxhall Bridge Road
London SW1V 1AE UK

Dear Mr. Grun,

I was referred to your office by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). It's my understanding that your Committee welcomes suggestions to improve the Editors' Code, hence this outreach.

In the course of reporting for my blog (The Sidebar), to my surprise I learned that IPSO member publications may delete published online news stories with impunity.

Briefly, after the accuracy of the reporting in the following three unrelated news stories published by IPSO member newspapers was questioned by me and by others, the stories simply vanished without any explanation to readers. (I've included the original URLs. If you click through, you'll see that they redirect to unrelated pages on the publications' websites.*)

Ed Byrne saves choking fan’s life by Alex Matthews, Mail Online, January 2, 2018 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5230303/Ed-Byrne-saves-choking-fans-life.html

Northampton care home staff save residents' [sic] life after he started choking by Carly Roberts, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, June 15, 2018 https://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/northampton-care-home-staff-save-residents-life-after-he-started-choking-1-8536207

Milton Keynes man's device saves 11 people from choking to death by Paige Brown, January 17, 2019, Milton Keynes Citizen https://www.miltonkeynes.co.uk/our-region/milton-keynes/milton-keynes-man-s-device-saves-11-people-from-choking-to-death-1-8774503

In response to complaints I filed last year with IPSO re: the Mail Online and Northampton Chronicle & Echo articles,** I was informed that no provision in the Editor's Code addresses the deletion of published news stories by IPSO member publications. In my opinion, that raises a variety of concerns.

For instance, if an article includes false information, rather than exercising editorial responsibility to correct errors, a publication may simply eliminate the entire story. That may shield reporters and editors from embarrassment (or worse), but in my opinion the Orwellian "disappearing" of published news reports is a disservice to readers and to the record.

It's also a slippery ethical slope. For example, if an advertiser doesn't like critical information in a story, could a word in the ear of a person with authority at the newspaper lead to the offending article being sent down the memory hole?

How common is the practice at IPSO member publications? I haven't a clue, but without trying, I tagged three examples in just one year.***

My opinion? It's a hole in the Editor's Code that's worth plugging. I'll be curious to learn if the Committee agrees.

Thank you for your time/attention and I'd welcome a reply.

Sincerely,

Peter M. Heimlich
Peachtree Corners, GA 30096 USA
ph: (208)474-7283
website: http://medfraud.info
blog: http://the-sidebar.com
e-mail: peter.heimlich@gmail.com
Twitter: @medfraud_pmh
bio: http://tinyurl.com/ych7o7dr

* Please click the following links for copies of the now-M.I.A Mail Online article via a news aggregator website http://tinyurl.com/y9nltnk4 and the Northampton Chronicle & Echo article via The Wayback Machine http://tinyurl.com/y9h5mvbc

The January 17, 2019 Milton Keynes Citizen article was deleted shortly after I sent a same-day e-mail inquiry to reporter Paige Brown. I couldn't locate a copy of her story in Google's cache or via The Wayback Machine, but here's a screenshot from a Bing News search today:



 ** More about my complaints here http://tinyurl.com/ycajjl28 and here http://tinyurl.com/ycsq2wk9

*** Unsurprisingly, scrubbing news stories isn't confined to IPSO member publications. For example, in 2013 I tagged Cincinnati Business Courier editor Rob Daumeyer for "disappearing" a story about my father (Henry J. Heimlich MD, known for his namesake anti-choking maneuver) apparently because it contained unflattering information http://tinyurl.com/zvqjrw2

cc: Charlotte Urwin, Head of Standards, IPSO

Friday, December 14, 2018

A young student in Camden County, GA reportedly had a life-threatening choking emergency on a school bus -- the school district refused to answer my questions about the child's condition, so I filed an investigation request with the state DOE; a week later I still haven't gotten any answers

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A couple weeks ago, multiple stories by Jacksonville, FL TV news stations reported a dramatic lifesaving rescue of a young student at a south Georgia public school district who had choked on a quarter while riding home on a school bus.

Having tracked a number of similar cases, I noted that missing from all the stories was any details about the victim, including the child's medical condition, so I made best attempts to learn more from the Camden County Georgia school district.

To my surprise, the district refused to disclose whether the reported victim was in good health and had received proper medical care; refused to provide the name of the bus driver (presumably public information); refused to forward my inquiry to the parents or guardian of the reported victim; and refused to answer any other questions.

I considered the district's response to be irregular, so on December 6, I sent the investigation request below to Georgia Department of Education Superintendent Richard Woods. (Click here to download a copy.)

Since a child's health was involved, I assumed Mr. Woods would be concerned and that I'd receive a fast reply.

But more than a week later, I haven't received any assurance that the reported victim received proper medical care and is in good health.

Since I'm at an impasse, I'm posting/circulating this item, and will report the results.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Fact-checking my sister, author & former journalist Janet Heimlich of Austin, TX

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Via the posted comments under Detainee dies after choking on food in Saitama police station cell, Japan Today, November 5, 2018

Janet Heimlich Nov. 8 05:15 pm JST

My father, Dr. Henry Heimlich, invented the Heimlich maneuver. He passed away in 2016. He would have been distraught to hear of this case, not only because no one attempted to save the man with the Heimlich maneuver but because they used back blows, which, unsurprisingly were unsuccessful. Unlike the American Heart Association, the Red Cross tells people to use back blows as a first response for choking. The say to administer 5 back blows and then 5 Heimlich maneuvers (or "abdominal thrusts.") The trouble is, the Red Cross has never produced evidence that shows back blows are superior to the Heimlich maneuver, while the maneuver saves people's lives every day, according to press reports. One study shows that back blows can drive an object deeper into the throat. Furthermore, with the Red Cross focusing so much on back blows, no one learns that they can also use the Heimlich maneuver to save yourself (as someone above pointed out) or an unconscious or heavy person (you do that lying down). You can't use back blows to accomplish either of those things. The Red Cross should take this life-and-death matter more seriously and go back to teaching people to first use the Heimlich maneuver when someone is choking. Since a person can die in 4 minutes, seconds count.


Peter M. Heimlich Nov. 9 01:12 am JST

I caught a factual error and a half-truth in my sister Janet Heimlich's post. I've also posted links to a first-rate 2009 Australian Broadcasting documentary re: the history of our father's namesake anti-choking treatment and a thought-provoking recent blog item by a U.S. cardiologist.

The American Heart Association (and most first aid agencies worldwide) recommend back blows as an effective treatment for responding to a choking emergency. More via this page on my website http://tinyurl.com/hnuxyxs "One study shows that back blows can drive an object deeper into the throat."

Janet -- a former journalist who edited our dad's 2014 memoir http://tinyurl.com/yau8h6nd -- is presumably referring to the now-tainted study by the late Richard Day L. MD et al of Yale published by the journal Pediatrics in 1982.

Research by my wife Karen M. Shulman and me revealed that our dad, the late Henry J. Heimlich MD, clandestinely funded the study.

Prior to 2005, AHA guidelines included citations of the Day study. That year I shared our research with Jerry Potts, PhD, Director of Science at the AHA's ECC Programs. The citation has not appeared in subsequent AHA guidelines.

Because of the Yale connection, I also shared our research with veteran medical reporter Abram Katz at the New Haven Register which resulted in this 10/23/06 report http://tinyurl.com/zvesjs9

Also see this 6/7/82 thank-you letter from dad to Dr. Day which I obtained from the Yale archives http://tinyurl.com/j3n8jbk "The Heimlich manoeuvre" by Aviva Ziegler, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 7/27/09 http://tinyurl.com/y92fwr6w "A Call To Reconsider The Heimlich Experiment: Let’s Scientifically Determine The Best Approach To Choking Victims" by Anthony Pearson MD, The Skeptical Cardiologist (Dr. Pearson's blog), 8/15/18 http://tinyurl.com/ybnxkqvs 


BelCanto Nov. 9 12:26 pm JST

I'm liking where this comment section is going! 


Peter M. Heimlich Nov. 13 10:51 am JST

Via European Resuscitation Council Guidelines, Resuscitation 95 (2015) 1–80 http://goo.gl/RpE76u

...The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR, www.ilcor.org) includes representatives from the American Heart Association (AHA), the European Resuscitation Council (ERC), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC), the Australian and New Zealand Committee on Resuscitation (ANZCOR), the Resuscitation Council of Southern Africa (RCSA), the Inter-American Heart Foundation (IAHF), and the Resuscitation Council of Asia (RCA).

...Treatment for severe airway obstruction

For conscious adults and children over one year of age with complete FBAO [Foreign Body Airway Obstruction], case reports have demonstrated the effectiveness of back blows or ‘slaps’, abdominal thrusts and chest thrusts. The likelihood of success is increased when combinations of back blows or slaps, and abdominal and chest thrusts are used.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Quoting "liberal commentator" Bill Maher, my brother Phil Heimlich says his fellow Evangelical Christians' support for President Trump "exposes us as the shameless hypocrites we've always been." [UPDATED]

Here's the run up...

Via Heimlich maneuvers to 'radical middle' by Jason Williams, Cincinnati Enquirer, January 14, 2017: 
Phil Heimlich was the politician he's come to despise.

"I regret not showing more courage," he told Politics Extra.

It's a harsh reality Heimlich has come to grips with since he left public office 10 years ago this month.

...Heimlich, 64, has never come back to politics since that bruising and brutally expensive 2006 loss to Democrat David Pepper in the commissioner's race. Heimlich has no plans to come back, but the Republican still loves to talk politics.
Heimlich: Come on fellow Republicans, do something about Trump, Cincinnati Enquirer, June 28, 2017.

Heimlich: Republicans are sabotaging Obamacare, Cincinnati Enquirer, July 27, 2017.

Republican Heimlich: Why I am voting for Democrats this year, Cincinnati Enquirer, June 14, 2018.

Former Republican county commissioner (Phil Heimlich) blasts (Republican Congressman Steve) Chabot as he endorses Democrat (Aftab) Pureval by Chris Wetterich, Cincinnati Business Courier, October 11, 2018.

...and here's the coup de grĂ¢ce.

Clip from 'He can stop everything': Hundreds rally against Trump's new AG, fear Russia probe in jeopardy by Max Londberg, Cincinnati Enquirer, November 8, 2018:


Phil: Just to fully give you my kind of priorities. I'm also what you'd call an Evangelical. I'm a Christ follower. But...and I got something to say to my fellow Evangelicals. And I'll quote the words of a commentator, a liberal commentator. But I'll quote him but it's true. What he said was, and I agree, "Our support for Donald Trump exposes us as the shameless hypocrites we've always been."

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11/16/18 UPDATE: Hat tip to an attentive reader who informed me that in 2009 Maher was the recipient of the Atheist Alliance of America's Richard Dawkins Award.

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Western NY schools superintendent blocks employees, board members from communicating with me re: purchase of controversial anti-choking device, so I've asked the state education commissioner for guidance

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A couple weeks ago I blogged, Olean, NY-area* school principal arranged purchase, installation, staff training of controversial anti-choking plunger device -- has he also received sales commissions?

In response to my subsequent reporting, a few days ago Tony Giannicchi, the district's superintendent of schools sent me a two-page letter that included:
Please be advised that District employees and Board members will not respond to any further communication from you, with the exception of requests for (public records)... 

That put me in a bind.

Here's why.

Via Dechokers at A-L expected to keep kids safe by staff reporter Kate Day Sager, Olean Times Herald, October 5, 2018:
(Tim) Hite, a professional firefighter, now promotes the Dechoker life-saving medical device which is used to suction objects from the airways of toddlers, children and adults.

Recently, Hite sold several sets of the Dechokers to the Allegany-Limestone Central School District, the first school district in the state to purchase the items.
Per a letter I received about three years ago, it's unclear if the Dechoker is approved by the New York State Department of Education.

From the same Times Herald article:
(Allegany-Limestone) Middle-High School Principal Cory Pecorella said the school district purchased two packages of the suction devices for each of the campuses.

...Pecorella said he learned of the device from Hite, whom he serves with in the Allegany Volunteer Fire Department.

“(Hite) contacted me and wanted to demonstrate the product for us,” Pecorella said. “We bought right into it.
Per my blog, it's unclear if Mr. Pecorella and Mr. Hite have a business relationship.

Finally, according to this recent interview conducted by reporter Amanda Gilbert (KWWL-TV, the Waterloo, IA NBC affiliate) with David Stilley MD, Medical Director at Iowa Department of Public Health Bureau of Emergency and Trauma Services, the Dechoker is of unproven benefit and safety.



(The interview was conducted for her May 31, 2018 report, Heimlich alternative? KWWL investigates new medical device offered to Iowa school.)

Those concerns seemed like reasonable grounds on which to request an investigation in order to determine if the Allegany-Limestone school's purchase and implementation of the devices was in compliance with applicable guidelines.

My problem? I don't know the appropriate office where to file that and per Superintendent Giannicchi's letter, if I ask him or another district employee or the school board how to proceed, they're prohibited from responding.

The only option I could think of was to request guidance from New York State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia -- see below. (Click here to download a copy.)

If/when I receive a reply, I'll report the results.



* My original headline began "Olean, NY school principal..." H/T to a knowledgeable reader who informed me "Allegany-Limestone Central Schools are not Olean schools. The two districts abut each other, but are separate," so I changed to "Olean, NY-area."

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Chronological compilation of mainstream media reports about the Dechoker anti-choking device


 Dechoker promo video featuring internist Randall L. Snook MD of Lone Tree, CO

If I've missed any, please e-mail links to Peter.Heimlich@gmail.com.

Game-changer: Dechoker medical device could end deaths by choking by Melissa Chipman, Insider Louisville October 22, 2015.

FDA approves new lifesaving device based out of Louisville by Ann Bowdan, WLKY-TV, October 30, 2015.

Space age to beat baldness: Health gadgets just got madder than ever... but do any actually work? by Jinan Harb, Daily Mail (UK), February 22, 2016.

Can New Devices Match Heimlich to Stop Choking? LifeVac and Dechoker pose alternative to abdominal thrusts by Laura Johannes, Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2016.

Anti-choking devices give piece of mind but don't replace Heimlich Maneuver by Liz Harrison, ABC30 News (Fresno, CA), September 27, 2016.

Brackley man advocates ‘de-choking’ device for all nurseries and schools as alternative to back slaps by Tim Redigolo, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, March 24, 2017.

Anti-choking device business raided, accused of investment scheme by investigative reporter Matthew Grant, FOX46-TV News, Charlotte, NC, March 12, 2018.

'Dechoker' anti-choking device claims to save lives but has never been tested on humans by investigative reporter Jackie Callaway, WFTS-TV News, Tampa, FL, May 21, 2018.

Heimlich alternative? KWWL investigates new medical device offered to Iowa school by Amanda Gilbert, KWWL-TV News, Waterloo, IA, May 31, 2018; click here for the video.

Northampton care home staff save residents' life after he started choking by Carly Roberts, Northampton Chronicle & Echo, June 15, 2018.

Dechokers at A-L expected to keep kids safe by Kate Day Sager, Olean Times Herald, October 5, 2018.

Heimlich’s son questions Dechoker products in A-L schools by Kate Day Sager, Olean (NY) Times Herald, November 1, 2018.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Olean, NY-area* school principal arranged purchase, installation, staff training of controversial anti-choking plunger device -- has he also received sales commissions? [UPDATE: Responses from NY State Sen. Catharine Young & Assemblyman Joseph Giglio]

UPDATE, 10/29/18: Per my item below, in an 8/24/18 e-mail, Olean, NY fireman/Dechoker vendor Timothy Hite claimed he had an 8/30/18 meeting scheduled with NY State Sen. Catharine Young & Assemblyman Joseph Giglio "to start writing legislation to make it mandatory for all eatery areas to have a Dechoker (anti-choking plunger device), kind of like NY did for first aid and CPR." 

In response to my inquiries, today Sen. Young's spokesman John Eberth left me a voice message and Assemblyman Giglio sent me an e-mail. Both confirmed the meeting took place but that no legislation is pending.
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Via Dechokers at A-L expected to keep kids safe by staff reporter Kate Day Sager, Olean Times Herald, October 5, 2018:
(Tim) Hite, a professional firefighter, now promotes the Dechoker life-saving medical device which is used to suction objects from the airways of toddlers, children and adults.

Recently, Hite sold several sets of the Dechokers to the Allegany-Limestone Central School District, the first school district in the state to purchase the items.

Middle-High School Principal Cory Pecorella said the school district purchased two packages of the suction devices for each of the campuses. Each package contains three Dechokers in adult, youth and toddler sizes. The packages will be kept in the nurse’s office and the cafeteria.

...“What it does is it replaces the abdominal thrust” which was previously referred to as the Heimlich maneuver, Hite explained. “It creates a negative pressure in the mouth area as you pull back and it forces the object out in reverse.”

...Pecorella said he learned of the device from Hite, whom he serves with in the Allegany Volunteer Fire Department.

“(Hite) contacted me and wanted to demonstrate the product for us,” Pecorella said. “We bought right into it. We have something that’s going to keep our kids safe and a better way to locate an object in someone’s throat.”
Pecorella sad he or Hite will train the faculty and staff how to use the items.


Along with some other quick questions I sent yesterday, per these e-mails I obtained via a public records request, I asked principal Pecorella if he'd received any commissions selling the Dechoker.

 

I also asked whether he'd seen any of these media reports about the Dechoker, published months before he arranged purchase of the devices.

Can New Devices Match Heimlich to Stop Choking? LifeVac and Dechoker pose alternative to abdominal thrusts -- LifeVac and Dechoker pose alternative to abdominal thrusts by Laura Johannes, Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2016.

Anti-choking device business raided, accused of investment scheme by investigative reporter Matthew Grant, FOX46-TV News, Charlotte, NC, March 12, 2018.

'Dechoker' anti-choking device claims to save lives but has never been tested on humans by Jackie Callaway, WFTS-TV News, Tampa, FL, May 21, 2018.

Heimlich alternative? KWWL investigates new medical device offered to Iowa school by Amanda Gilbert, KWWL-TV News, Waterloo, IA, May 31, 2018; click here for the video.

Also from Ms. Sager's Times Herald article:
Tim Hite remembers a time when he tried to help a man who was choking on a sandwich, but couldn’t save him...During one incident in his hometown of Camden, he and other emergency personnel couldn’t help an older individual who was choking. The man, who was disabled, had tried to eat two peanut butter sandwiches at once, causing him to choke.

By the time we got to him, he was already in cardiac arrest” and died, he lamented.

..."(The) Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office has a first aid kit with an adult size (Dechoker) in it at their dispatch center.”
Yesterday I sent some quick questions to Mr. Hite asking for more details about the choking death and the placement of the Dechoker in the Sheriff's dispatch office.

Per Mr. Hite's August 24 e-mail (copied above) I'm also curious about his meeting with New York State Senator Catharine Young and New York State Assemblyman Joseph Giglio, so I'll inquire about that.

I'll report the results of my inquiries in a future item.

Via my records request to the school district, here are price quotes for the Dechokers from Mr. Hite's company, C3 Safety Products LLC:

* My original headline began "Olean, NY school principal..." H/T to a knowledgeable reader who informed me "Allegany-Limestone Central Schools are not Olean schools. The two districts abut each other, but are separate," so I changed to "Olean, NY-area."