Thursday, January 16, 2020

Is a Greenville, SC, chiropractor/social media star using patients to test an experimental medical device? I've asked the state to review [UPDATE: Vendor of the "Y-Strap" wrote me that the device is not marketed to be used for any medical treatment]

Click here to direct download a copy of my letter today to South Carolina's licensing agency requesting of review of chiropractor Joseph Cipriano's use of the "Y-Strap decompression tool."

The Y-Strap is a black, mostly fabric harness that looks like something from an S&M dungeon. In Joseph Cipriano’s YouTube videos, it's placed behind the necks of prone patients who, in the moment before the crack, typically tense as if bracing for a crash.

Cipriano, a chiropractor based in Greenville, South Carolina, has become a YouTube sensation in the past 18 months, taking his channel from inception last March to more than 850,000 subscribers ...“I literally watched every video I could find on the Y-Strap first,” says Xavier, a patient of Cipriano’s. “It’s pretty daunting to think you’re allowing someone to pull apart your spine like a Lego.”

“Coowaa,” goes the sound as Cipriano yanks the Y-Strap and patient's skull away from their body: a mix of them being dragged and cracks that ricochet down the spine, caused by bubbles forming in the synovial fluid around joints. The noise is followed by either laughter, a grimace, or an emotional release that can include crying. “I feel like I just grew two inches,” says one woman.
Via my letter (which includes links and text from the WiredUK article and another article recently published in Vice):
As a result of research by my wife and me into my father's bizarre career, I developed an interest in experimental medical treatments/devices, medical ethics (including the use of human subjects in unsupervised medical research), and oversight responsibility of public health authorities. The following situation in your state appears to include all of those topics.

...This is to request that your office review the following information and provide me with a determination if (Greenville, SC, chiropractor Joseph) Cipriano’s treatment of his patients using a device called the “Y-Strap decompression tool” is in compliance with your agency’s guidelines.
Superior Balance SL is a company in Seville, Spain, that markets the "Y-Strap" in the US and other countries. Via my letter (on which I courtesy-copied Jeffery Shuren MD JD who heads the US Food & Drug Administration's medical devices division):
I searched and and the FDA’s database of registered devices and failed to locate any information regarding whether the “Y-Strap” is registered with that agency, so yesterday I phoned Superior Balance SL in Seville and a company representative informed me that the device is not registered with the FDA.

When I asked if the device has been the subject of any published studies, the representative replied, “The Y-Strap hasn’t been the subject of any clinical trials. Because there is no clinical proof that it works, we don’t sell it as a medical product.”

Therefore, Mr. Cipriano appears to be using his patients to test the medical benefits of the “Y-Strap.” In your review, would you please determine which if any Institutional Review Board is overseeing his research?
Big hat tip to Myles Power for tweets that introduced me to this story. He also steered me to videos from which I made these clips of Cipriano using the "Y-Strap" to aggressively yank the necks of his patients. (I included the videos in my letter to the state agency that licenses him to practice in the Palmetto State.)

UPDATE: On January 20, Tomas Lopez, president of the Seville, Spain company that markets the "Y-Strap" sent me a complaint email requesting I change this blog item. In a same-day reply, I declined and sent him some questions. I haven't received a reply.

Via his email:
(We) do not market (marketing) [sic] our product as a medical product...

We never say they are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, nor prevent any disease or health condition.
Here are both emails which I'm sharing shared with South Carolina's licensing agency and the FDA:

This item has been updated.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Anti-choking devices & Suffolk County, NY, Part I: Lemonade fundraiser campaign to install LifeVacs in local schools heats up!

Via Kids' lemonade stand raises money for life-saving device by Briella Tomassetti, FOX5 NYC, July 15, 2019:
Kathy Romano and her grandchildren are helping to save lives one ice-cold drink at a time. The good Samaritans are spending much of their hot summer days outside, running an old-fashioned lemonade stand. All the proceeds are going towards the purchase of a life-saving choking device called the LifeVac.
"The Life Vac can be done on anyone. It's safe and it's effective. It's saved 25 lives in 25 tries," inventor Arthur Lih says.
 ...So far, about 30 schools on Long Island have added the LifeVac to their safety kits.
...Romano and her grandkids have already raised nearly $1,000, which is enough to purchase roughly three LifeVac devices, with help from the JT's Law Foundation.
"This has to be in every single home, school, everywhere," Romano says.
Her goal is to raise enough money for 19 LifeVac devices: One for every building in her grandchildren's school district.
The report doesn't identify the school district her grandchildren
July 10, 2019 JT's Law Foundation Facebook post:

Via Wikipedia:

Click here for my compilation of reports about the LifeVac by medical organizations, government agencies, and mainstream media.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

My letter today to Portsmouth, VA, Navy medical program under fire from "fanatical animal rights group" (PCRM)

Click here to download a pdf version.

August 14, 2019

John Devlin MD, Director
Emergency Medicine Residency Program
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
620 John Paul Jones Circle
Portsmouth, VA 23708

Dear Dr. Devlin:

I’m the son of the late Henry J. Heimlich MD, known for “the Heimlich maneuver” anti-choking treatment. I have a journalism background and since 2003 research into my father’s career by my wife and me has resulted in scores of mainstream print and broadcast news reports that exposed my father as a remarkable – and dangerous – humbug.

Via an August 9, 2019 press release, Doctors Ask DoD to Investigate Naval Medical Center Portsmouths Live Animal Use:
(The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) has filed a petition for enforcement with the Department of Defense (DoD), requesting that the DoD immediately investigate the use of live animals in medical training occurring at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP).

...“Studies and individuals from the Navy, Army, and Air Force have all concluded that simulator-based training is equivalent to or even superior to live tissue training ,” said John Pippin, MD, FACC, Physicians Committee director of academic affairs.
Per my website and blog, I’ve been a critic of the Washington, DC-based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) and it’s founding president, Neal Barnard MD, because of his group’s problematic three-decade relationship with my father.

Since PCRM is on the warpath against your program, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some information which in my opinion raises reasonable questions about whether PCRM’s actions are motivated by evidence-based science or emotion-drivcn allegiance to our four-legged friends.

I’m also including a 1991 letter in which my father appears to thank Dr. Barnard for helping to fund notorious offshore experiments conducted by Cincinnati’s now-defunct Heimlich Institute in which U.S. Lyme Disease patients were infected with malaria, a quack “cure” dad called “malariotherapy.”

Via PCRM’s website:

The Physicians Committee is dedicated to saving and improving human and animal lives through plant-based diets and ethical and effective scientific research.


Creating a healthier world through a new emphasis on plant-based nutrition and scientific research conducted ethically, without using animals.
Via a 2011 column, junk science debunker Joseph A."Dr. Joe" Schwarcz PhD, Director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society, expressed a somewhat different opinion:
I consider PCRM to be a fanatical animal rights group with a clear cut agenda of promoting a vegan lifestyle and eliminating all animal experimentation.
Via numerous published articles from 1994 to the present which I’ve compiled on my blog, PCRM has been called an “animal rights” activist group, a perspective that presumably triggered their attempt to disrupt your program.

Along those lines, via this profile of him in the Spring 2011 issue of American Dog magazine, Dr. Pippin minced no words about his priorities:
“I am about animal protection, a position that focuses on ending our abuse and killing of animals for food, research, drug and product testing, education, entertainment, hunting, and all other human purposes,” (Dr. Pippin) says. “I’m also about a fundamental level of animal rights, because I believe that all sentient creatures - human and nonhuman - have an inherent right to freedom from abuse and killing. This means, of course, that I support the no-kill animal shelter movement.”

Two pivotal events led Dr. Pippin to a life of protecting and saving animals. The first was in 1987 when he realized that animal research is not only horribly cruel, but also a fraud that cannot prevent or cure human diseases. This epiphany changed his career and made him a vocal critic of animal experimentation. The second was in 2004, when Dr. Pippin had to choose between continuing to advocate publicly against animal research and keeping his career as founding director of cardiology at Cooper Clinic in Dallas. He chose the animals, and has never regretted the choice.

“Animals have nobody but the animal protection community between them and egregious misuse, abuse, and death at the hands of our species,” he says. “For those of us with true hearts for animals, such evils as eating, wearing, fighting, breeding, imprisoning, hunting, and experimenting on our animal kin must be ended.”

For the past six years, Dr. Pippin has worked full time with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine…
Some may disagree that eating a BLT or wearing leather shoes is “evil,” but clearly Dr. Pippin brings strongly-held personal convictions to his work.

Back to my father, who in 1977 was fired for misconduct from his last hospital job, arguably dad’s most notorious scam was “malariotherapy.” Despite having no background in immunology, from the early 1980s until his death in 2016, dad claimed infecting patients with malaria could cure a variety of diseases.[1]

From the late 1980s until at least 2005, dad’s shady Heimlich Institute conducted a series of unsupervised offshore experiments in which U.S. and foreign nationals suffering from cancer, Lyme Disease, and AIDS were infected with malaria.

Via Scientists Linked to Heimlich Investigated by Robert Anglen, Cincinnati Sunday Enquirer, February 16, 2003:
(Dr. Heimlich's experiments) have been criticized by the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration and condemned by other health professionals and human rights advocates as a medical "atrocity.''
Further, via a 2014 Hollywood Reporter expose, How Dr. Heimlich Maneuvered Hollywood Into Backing His Dangerous AIDS "Cure":
(An) investigation into Heimlich's fundraising efforts was undertaken by the major frauds section of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Fast forward to the day after dad died via a December 17, 2016 media release, The Physicians Committee Remembers Henry J. Heimlich for Innovative Medicine:
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine salutes the life and career of Henry J. Heimlich, M.D., a tremendously innovative and creative scientist. The Heimlich maneuver, for which he is known, has saved countless lives. But it was Dr. Heimlich's unwavering compassion, and his steadfast refusal to support animal experiments, which consistently impressed his colleagues.

In 2005, he gave his name for the Physicians Committee’s Henry J. Heimlich Award for Innovative Medicine, [2] an award that recognizes the ability to see innovative and surprisingly simple solutions to seemingly insurmountable medical issues.
...“Dr. Heimlich was the embodiment of innovation, compassion, and getting the job done,” says Physicians Committee president Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C. “His work has inspired researchers and medical students to break convention, think creatively, and focus on what counts: saving lives.”
I can’t account for PCRM’s unwavering admiration for my dad which presumably includes “malariotherapy,” described by Lyme Disease patient Cyndi Monahan of New Jersey in Heimlich's Maneuver?, an article in the June 1991 issue of American Health:
"Within two days I started to get fevers as high as 106 degrees"...After Monahan's return from Mexico City, life consisted of hours of fever followed by chills - and intense pain. "My lower back felt like a truck slammed into it and I found that a malaria headache is the most excruciating pain you can imagine." Her New Jersey doctor allowed the malaria to persist untreated for five weeks. During that time she logged 130 "fever hours," when her temperature exceeded 101 degrees. She vomited constantly, lost 40 lb. and required intravenous fluids to compensate for dehydration. "We went until my body couldn't take it anymore," she recalled, "and then I took the antimalarial drug"...

"I'm going back for another treatment," she says. "Dr. Heimlich told me I may have to do it again. He's made all the arrangements with the doctors in Panama."
As it happens, per this letter donated by my dad to the University of Cincinnati’s Henry J. Heimlich Archival Collection, Dr. Barnard may have helped pay for Ms. Monahan’s “treatment”:
May 30, 1991

Neal D. Bernard, M.D.
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
P.O. Box 6322
Washington, D.C. 20015

Dear Neal:

I received your generous donation of $1,000.00 on May 20. Thank you so much for your continuing support of our research projects.

I'm pleased to report our first group of Lyme disease patients has completed malariatherapy at the clinic in Panama and their induced malaria is being cured. In fact, I leave tomorrow so that I can be there this weekend. The results so far are gratifying, and we hope to see even more progress in the weeks to come.

In about an hour, Susan and I will be meeting with Mike Handley to discuss the PSA's to focus on responsible medicine.[3]
Keep in touch. As soon as I have finished documenting our recent malariatherapy group, a report will be sent to you for your interest.

Thought you might care to see the enclosed speech given at graduation of Eastern Virginia Medical College.

Thank you again for your support.


Henry J. Heimlich
The Heimlich Institute
2368 Victory Parkway Suite 410
Cincinnati, OH 45206
Further, for decades Dr. Barnard and his organization advocated my father’s reckless 40-year promotion of the Heimlich maneuver (abdominal thrusts) as a treatment for near-drowning.

Even after research by my wife and me revealed that since 1974 dad used fraudulent case reports to promote his now thoroughly-discredited claims, in letters to newspapers and on ABC 20/20, Dr. Barnard continued to hype the treatment, whose use has reportedly been associated with dozens of poor outcome cases, including children.

So much for “responsible medicine.”

Finally, regarding the use of animals for training or for medical research, I have zero knowledge of the subject, therefore no opinion.

I do, however, have a devil’s advocate question.

Via Pop Goes the Cafe Coronary published in the June 1974 issue of Emergency Medicine in which dad first described the treatment he subsequently named "the Heimlich maneuver."
Every year in the United States, 3900 healthy people strangle on food stuck in their tracheas. That’s more people, by the way, than are killed each year in accidental shootings.
...What's really needed then is a first aid procedure that doesn't require specialized instruments or equipment and can be performed by any informed layman - or even considered by a physician before resorting to tracheostomy with its attendant hazards. So, experimentally at least, I have developed such a procedure. It's been tested only on dogs but I believe the logic of the concept and the favorable findings warrant public dissemination.

...Standing behind the victim, the rescuer puts both arms around him just above the belt line, allowing head, arms, and upper torso to hang forward. Then, grasping his own right wrist with his left hand, the rescuer rapidly and strongly presses into the victim's abdomen, forcing the diaphragm upward, compressing the lungs, and expelling the obstructing bolus.

...The procedure is adapted from experimental work with four 38-pound beagles, in which I was assisted by surgical research technician Michael H. McNeal. After being given an intravenous anesthetic, each dog was "strangled" with a size 32 cuffed endotracheal tube inserted into the larynx. After the cuff was distended to create total obstruction of the trachea, the animal went into immediate respiratory distress as evidenced by spasmodic, paradoxical respiratory movements of the chest and diaphragm. At this point, with a sudden thrust. I pressed the palm of my hand deeply and firmly into the abdomen of the animal a short distance below the rib cage, thereby pushing upward on the diaphragm. The endotracheal tube popped out of the trachea and, after several labored respirations, the animal began to breathe normally. This procedure was even more effective when the other hand maintained constant pressure on the lower abdomen directing almost all the pressure toward the diaphragm.

We repeated the experiment more than 20 times on each animal with the same excellent results When a bolus of raw hamburger was substituted for the endotracheal tube, it, too, was ejected by the same procedure, always after one or two compressions.
Since dad used beagles in his research, if they’d had been around at the time, would PCRM have attempted to shut down the research and thereby presumably derail the development of the Heimlich maneuver which, according to PCRM’s remembrance of my father, “has saved countless lives”?

If someone poses that question to Drs. Barnard, Pippin, and/or Reina Pohl MPH (the media contact on PCRM’s press release about your program), I’d be curious to know the response.

Thanks for your time/attention and I’d welcome your thoughts/questions.


Peter M. Heimlich
Peachtree Corners, GA 30096 USA
ph: (208)474-7283
Twitter: @medfraud_pmh

[1] My father credited the work of Julius Wagner-Jauregg, a German eugenicist and Nazi sympathizer as his inspiration.

[2] To my knowledge, PCRM hasn’t presented the award since 2010 at a celebrity-studded event that was reported by the LA Weekly.

[3] Presumably dad was referring to a series of video PSAs promoting PCRM in which he appeared.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Cincinnati's insane Heimlich Heroes "first aid training" program is putting babies' lives at risk & is being funded by a Northern Kentucky foundation; I've asked Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the IRS & the KY Attorney General to investigate

Via (PA) State Rep. Jim Marshall’s infant choking bill to be amended to avoid teaching Heimlich procedure for use on babies b
State Rep. Jim Marshall’s recent bill on infant CPR and choking prevention will need to be amended in the Senate after he learned that the well-known Heimlich maneuver is not recommended for babies.

...(Peter Heimlich) said his father’s namesake technique is not recommended for infants. Heimlich said medical groups, such as the American Red Cross, advise against using the procedure on infants.

...“Unfortunately, I didn’t receive Mr. Heimlich’s email until after the bill passed the House of Representatives, but we’ve passed along his information to the Senate so they can consider a corrective amendment when House Bill 783 is considered,” Marshall said in an email. “It is certainly my intent to ensure there is no confusion about the appropriate rescue procedures for a choking infant.”
In contrast to Rep. Marshall's prompt, responsible actions, an unaccountable, renegade "first aid training" program based in Cincinnati has been putting the lives of infants and others at risk around the nation since 2012.

Further a Fort Mitchell foundation is funding this madness.

I've asked Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the IRS, and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear to step in before someone gets killed.

About seven years ago, two Cincinnati nonprofits -- Deaconess Associations and my dad's Heimlich Institute -- launched Heimlich Heroes, a medical training project which claims to have provided classes to over 100,000 people across the nation -- including teaching them to perform abdominal thrusts on choking infants.

To my knowledge the treatment has never been recommend by any legitimate medical organization.

Why not?

As I've reported, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Red Cross informed me that doing so "may cause injuries."

What kind of injuries?

According to the AHA:
Abdominal thrusts, however, may cause complications. For this reason, the Heimlich maneuver should never be performed unless it is necessary. Reported complications of the Heimlich maneuver include damage to internal organs, such as rupture or laceration of abdominal or thoracic viscera. In fact, victims who receive the Heimlich maneuver should be medically evaluated to rule out any life-threatening complications.
If those concerns apply to children and adults, it’s easy to imagine the potential complications for tiny, vulnerable bodies.

Perhaps astoundingly, Heimlich Heroes is fully aware of those concerns.

That's not the only problem.

Who would be reckless enough to encourage teaching the public an unapproved, experimental "treatment" that may serious injure infants -- or worse?


Recently I learned that the Elsa Heisel Sule Foundation of Fort Mitchell, KY has awarded Heimlich Heroes over $31,000, so I sent multiple inquiries to foundation executives asking if they were aware of the serious medical issues described above?

I didn't receive a reply, so I've filed a string of investigation requests to government agencies.

First, here's my letter to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine requesting that the state bring some discipline to this madness being perpetrated by Deaconess Associations and the Heimlich Institute -- whose longtime vice president is my brother Phil Heimlich, who a decade ago served on the Hamilton County Commission with the governor's son, Pat DeWine -- with a same-day reply from press secretary Dan Tierney informing me that my request is being processed. Click here to download a copy. 

Next, here's my letter to the IRS re: the nonprofit Sule Foundation putting lives at risk. Click here to download a copy.

I also asked the agency to revoke the Heimlich Institute's 501(c)3 nonprofit status because the organization -- whose decades of  outrageous medical misconduct and fraud has been widely-reported -- hasn't had any employees since 2005 and its most recent IRS tax filing (2017) showed zero assets.

Finally, here's my letter to KY Attorney General Andy Beshear re: the Sule Foundation funding the dangerous Heimlich Heroes program. Click here to download a copy.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Compilation of reports/documents from medical & government organizations & (mostly) mainstream media reports about the LifeVac anti-choking device (Long Island, NY) [UPDATED: 12/18/19]

"Plumbers unclog pipes. If we stop and take a deep breath, and realize that's what we're dealing with, I went and found a plunger," (LifeVac developer Arthur) Lih said" (source). Based on the above photo (source), the sink plunger appears to be this gadget sold by Home Depot.

If I've missed any, please e-mail links to

For information originating from Lifevac LLC (Nesconset, NY) and to purchase the device, click here for the company's home page. For more information and to purchase the device, see the websites of LifeVac Europe (Devon), Lifevac Canada (Mississauga), LifeVac Australia (New South Wales), LifeVac Greece and LifeVac Poland (Stalowa Wola).

Click here for my similar compilation re: the Dechoker anti-choking device.


Does the Resuscitation Council (UK) recommend the use of airway clearance devices (ACD) in the treatment of the choking victim?, UK Resuscitation Council, February 2018

April 5, 2018 Swedish CPR Council report re: anti-choking devices by Henrik Wagner MD PhD, Jan Gelberg MD, Andreas Claesson RN PhD. Click here for original Swedish version; click here for English version via Google Translate.

April 25, 2019 statement by the Spanish Council of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation re: anti-choking devices. Click here for original Spanish version; click here for English version via Google Translate. 


January 27, 2016 letter to me from Karen Hollowood RN of the NYS Education Dept. re: the LifeVac & the agency's recommended best practices for choking rescue

East Riding of Yorkshire Council (UK) March 2017 newsletter to area schools re: expert medical review by National Health Service hospital of "Anti Choking" Devices including the Lifevac

August 30, 2017 determination letter from UK Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) re: LifeVac anti-choking device (via my Scribd account) 


Long Island inventor's 'LifeVac' anti-choking device purchased by fire department by Tom Incantalupo, Newsday, July 16, 2015

Brentwood Fire Department purchases 30 LifeVac units by Tom Incantalupo, Newsday, September 24, 2015

Lindenhurst school district purchases LifeVacs by Tom Incantalupo, Newsday, December 3, 2015 

Heimlich remover! Son of ‘maneuver’ inventor wants investigation into anti-choking device at boro schools by Allegra Hobbs, Brooklyn Paper, January 14, 2016

New potentially life saving device questioned by medical watchdog by Joe Mauceri, PIX11 TV News (NYC), January 18, 2016

Life-saving invention could prevent any more choking deaths of children in school by Kirstin Cole, PIX11 (NYC), February 25, 2016.

Sarasota Police Department using LifeVac anti-choking device by investigative reporter Kate Flexter, ABC7 Sarasota, FL, April 7, 2016

Welling woman broke down in tears when one of her medical devices saved OAP's life by Jake Bacon, London NewsShopper, June 9, 2016   

Life Vac anti-choking device designed in North Devon has just saved its first life by Laura Brainwood, North Devon Journal, June 14, 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 (Paywalled) Phil Heimlich is my older brother -- PMH
Two new easy-to-use devices work like plungers to suck out obstructions in the airway, providing another option if standard treatment—such as abdominal thrusts developed in 1974 by Henry Heimlich—fail to clear the airway, say the companies who sell them.

...Both the Dechoker, $89.95, and the LifeVac, $69.95, have a plastic mask that provides a seal over the mouth and nose while suction is provided. The Dechoker looks like a large syringe, while the LifeVac’s plunger is shaped like a small accordion.
...Skeptics include Dr. Heimlich, now 96. Such a device may not be handy in the “unexpected instance that a person chokes,” Dr. Heimlich, a retired thoracic surgeon from Cincinnati, says in a statement released by his son, Phil Heimlich. “Any action that delays use of the Heimlich maneuver or complicates the rescue can be deadly.”
Kudos to WSJ for giving thorough look at ‘Heimlich alternative’ devices for choking victims by Susan Wei PhD, Dan Mayer MD & Joya Victory, Health News Review, July 18, 2016

LifeVac signs international distribution deal by Ken Schachter, Newsday, August 3, 2016

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

A ‘last resort’ when life is on the line by Claude Solnik, Long Island Business News, December 15, 2016

LifeVac anti-choking device’s inventor faces fragmented market by David Reich-Hale, Newsday, December 18, 2016

Rutherford Local Becomes Spokesperson For Life-Saving Device by Arthur Augustyn, Daily Voice (Rutherford, NJ), January 31, 2017

Anti-choking LifeVac kits offered to East Riding schools by Hull Wyke Round Table by Elizabeth Mackley, Hull Daily Mail, February 10, 2017

Hull Wyke Round Table announcement letter cancelling the project and offering refunds to crowdfund donors, May 15, 2017.

Two Men Say Anti-Choking Device Could Have Saved a Boy's Life by Bryant Clerkley, WKRG-TV (Pensacola, FL), September 28, 2017 (featuring LifeVac LLC president Arthur Lih and vice-president Thomas Foley of Davie, FL)

LifeVac Donates More than 30 Units to Jackson County School by Ashton Williams, WMBB-TV News (Panama City, FL), October 26, 2017

Mother Of Audi Anderson Says Lifevac Could Have Saved His Life by Bryant Clerkley, WKRG-TV News, November 2, 2017

Heartbroken dad whose daughter, 6, choked to death on grape says this simple device could have saved her life by Tom Belger, The Mirror, November 7, 2017

Grieving parents in plea to medical chiefs by Alex Jones, Cambrian News (Wales), November 8, 2017

Creator of new product donates devices to local school district, police department by Victor Tun, Picayune Item (MS), December 9, 2017

The anti-choking device that parents are now turning to by Dr. Sam Hay, Kidspot (Australia), March 20, 2018:
(That’s) where the LifeVac comes in - a hand held device that works like a fancy drain plunger.

...(The) device is capable of producing a degree of suction that far exceeds those achievable by any first aid technique.

It makes sense. Plus, the good news is, it works.

...Look, it’s not foolproof, and it’s not without some (small) potential for injury in toddlers and babies. But faced with the devastating alternatives, I’d encourage parents to consider having one handy, and definitely giving it a go after first aid techniques have failed and the ambulance is on its way.
Johnson Orthodontics donates lifesaving devices to local schools, Cape Gazette, Cape Henlopen, DE, March 25, 2018

Claim of Smear on Choke Device by Anthony Klan, The Australian, April 4, 2018

A Heimlich alternative? Wisconsin medical experts say anti-choking device needs more testing by Bryan Polcyn, FOX6 News (Milwaukee, WI), July 5, 2018 (features interviews with Courtney & Matt Bruegmann of Fennimore, WI, Fennimore Rescue Squad Chief Nathan Flynn, LifeVac president Arthur Lih and vice-president Thomas Foley, Mark Megna of Milwaukee, and Marc Cohen, Executive Director of the Wisconsin EMS Association.)
Not long after their son's death, the Bruegmann's learned about LifeVac.
..."If I would've just had one of these, maybe (my son) would be here," Courtney Bruegmann said.

The Bruegmann's found the $70 device on Amazon...
..."I'm not letting these kids keep dying," said Arthur Lih, the founder of  LifeVac.
Lih says his device is a matter of simple physics.
"Plumbers unclog pipes. If we stop and take a deep breath, and realize that's what we're dealing with, I went and found a plunger," Lih said.
...LifeVac claims to have mountains of evidence that the device works, including articles published by the International Journal of Clinical Skills, the American Journal of Gastroenterology, and the American College of  Emergency Physicians.
But at least two of those articles were authored by a doctor who is also Lih's sister...
Parents turn loss into a mission to save others by Erin Martin, Fennimore Times (Fennimore, WI), August 21, 2018

Choking victim Sherry Campbell’s legacy will be lifesaving device in every Northern Ireland school by Victoria Leonard, Belfast Telegraph, September 17, 2018

Fennimore parents turn loss into life-saving mission by Leah Linscheid, WISC-TV (Maidson, WI), November 5, 2018

UK takes cautious approach to Irish anti-choking device by Colin Coyle, The Sunday Times (Ireland), November 19, 2018

‘Seems fair to recommend:’ State EMS doc approves anti-choking device as backup option by Bryan Polcyn, FOX6 News, December 19, 2018 

Idaho Falls woman advocates for putting "Life Vac" anti-choking devices in local schools by Rachel Cox-Rosen, KPVI-TV (Idado Falls, ID), February 19, 2019

Advocates say anti-choking device saved two lives in Idaho by Brennan Kaufman, The Post Register (Idaho Falls, ID), January 8, 2019

After son's choking death, Fennimore family hopes to prevent further tragedy by Bennet Goldstein, Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA), February 16, 2019:
"Unclogging a pipe is the same thing as unclogging a throat,” said Tom Foley, vice president of the company, which is based in Nesconset, N.Y. 
Accompanying video interview conducted by Telegraph Herald reporter Bennet Goldstein (who apparently did not interview the family doctor):

Courtney Bruegmann (emphasis added): After we lost our 9-month-old son in a choking incident, we had actually went to our family doctor and kind of spoke with her, like, y'know, is there anything out there that can try to, y'know, prevent this from happening or help in a situation? And she did some research online and came across the LifeVac.
This family lost their baby to a choking accident. They want the state to help save other lives; Bruegmanns push for safety grant for schools by Leah Linscheid, WISC-TV, April 30, 2019:
Matt and Courtney Bruegmann lost their baby boy, Camynn, when he choked on a bouncy ball two years ago. In the years since, they’ve poured their time and souls into researching the LifeVac...

Since Camynn’s death, more than a dozen law enforcement agencies have purchased their own. The Bruegmanns bought several themselves for the Lancaster School District, where Courtney grew up.

They presented the donations to the superintendent Tuesday.

...Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) was on hand for the donation. He’s teaming up with Sen. Howard Marklein (R- Spring Green) to put together a grant program to help more school districts buy LifeVacs.

Entrepreneur invents life-saving device, FOX & Friends, FOX News, May 5, 2019

Anti-choking devices: a lot of servile "journalism" and no clinical trials (Spanish) by Esther Samper, Hipertextual, May 26, 2019; click here for English version via Google Translate

What is LifeVac and why has it "insulted" Spanish doctors? (Spanish) by Nuria Fdez Gámez & Laura Díez, Redaccion Medica (Sanitarias), June 1, 2019; click here for English version via Google Translate

Sometimes You Have To Do The Impossible Just To Prove Nothing Is -- Entrepreneur Arthur Lih invented a product that is saving lives by Lexi Dansker, Neirad, Darien (CT) High School, June 3, 2019

Choking baby saved by device brought into Northern Ireland after death of Sherry Campbell; One-year-old Killian was choking on a piece of carrot when his mum used the LifeVac and saved him by Jilly Beattie, Belfast Live, June 10, 2019

LifeVac saves 1-year-old boy from Lafayette by staff reporter Randall Newsome, WISH-TV News, Indianapolis, IN, June 13, 2019 includes interviews with the infant's mother, Morgan Hendrick-Luse (per comment below posted on Youtube aka Morgan Hendricks Luce-Araya) of Lafayette, IN; her mother, Toni Hendricks of Oakwook, IL; and LifeVac creator Arthur Lih of Massapequa, NY.

School presented with anti-choking devices by Dylan Davies, deputy news editor, Cambrian News, Ceredigion, Wales, June 21, 2019; also see my August 17, 2016 blog item, Since January, a choking death and three near-fatal choking incidents apparently occurred at a small nursing home in Wales -- company executives aren't answering my questions, so I've asked oversight agencies to investigate.

(LifeVac) Anti-Choking Device Is Saving Lives by UCLA Professor of Medicine Nina L. Shapiro, June 23, 2019
But sometimes, despite best efforts, these (anti-choking) maneuvers don't work. Now there are other options available, especially while waiting for emergency first responders. A lucky mom in Northern California is all too familiar with this. Crystal, who requested her last name not be used,* is a mom of an 11-month-old and two older children. When her oldest was a toddler, she had a choking incident. Thankfully, all turned out fine, but ever since then, Crystal has been acutely aware of potential choking risks. When she was pregnant with her youngest, she was shopping around for safety items and came across a LifeVac, a non-powered handheld suction device to remove foreign objects from the airway of a choking victim.

...Suddenly she heard a strange gurgling noise from that room, and her worst fear had come true. "She was choking. I ran over to her, and I thought I saw something sharp in her throat, and since I saw it, I tried to grab it." But then the baby gasped and the object was gone-- out of view, and now completely blocking the airway. "I tried back blows, but it was stuck." Her older daughter called 911 right away. Crystal kept trying back blows, abdominal thrusts, but "her lips were turning blue. Nothing was working." She then remembered that the device she dug out from her closet for the family trip was still in her suitcase. She ran to grab it, and used it on her baby. It took two tries, then "out popped a plastic piece [from a thick plastic bag clasp]." The baby's lips turned pink, she started to cry, and soon after, was puzzled why her mother looked so distressed. The paramedics arrived, checked the baby, and deemed she was well-- her breathing was normal, her lungs were clear

When it comes to safety, you really never can be too sure. As Crystal has told countless friends and family, both before this event, and more so subsequently, "Don't think it won't happen to you. You just never know."
* Testimonial letter apparently signed by Crystal Houston of Pittsburg, California describing a May 30, 2019 choking incident, the rescue of her 10-month-old daughter, Amarianna Robinson, using the LifeVac and the response by paramedics (via a June 22, 2019 Facebook post by LifeVac Australia)

Fennimore (WI) family advocates for state grants to install choking rescue devices in schools by Bennet Goldstein, Dubuque, IA Telegraph Herald, June 25, 2019
A Fennimore family is urging state lawmakers to back a legislative proposal that would allocate funding for the acquisition of choking-rescue devices for schools.

...The bill would allocate up to $500,000 to provide grants to public, private and tribal elementary and secondary schools for the purchase of the devices.

The proposal was introduced by Wisconsin Rep. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, and Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, at the urging of the Bruegmanns.

“This seems like a simple device that wouldn’t be difficult to put into schools,” Tranel said.

...The Bruegmanns believe the boy’s death could have been prevented had they and emergency service workers had more tools at their disposal, such as a rescue device known as the LifeVac.

...In addition to donating several LifeVac units to area schools and the Fennimore Volunteer Rescue Squad, the Bruegmanns are advocating for the placement of choking-rescue devices in each of Wisconsin’s more than 2,000 schools.

Family pushes for anti-choking devices in schools after tragedy by Anthony DaBruzzi, SpectrumNews1 (Madison, WI) July 8, 2019:
Looking to spare others from their painful experience, the couple researched anti-choking devices...
The simple Devon invention that saved the life of 11-month-old girl and dozens of others by Joel Cooper, DevonLive, July 11, 2019:
An invention developed by a family run business in Devon has saved the lives of 31 people, including an 11-month-old baby girl.

Amarannia had been playing in her living room when she picked up a piece of plastic and put it in her mouth.

Her mother suddenly heard a strange gurgling noise from the living room and her worst fears were confirmed when she came in to find Amarannia choking.

But luckily she had access to a LifeVac, a piece of equipment that was developed in a North Devon village and is now use across the world.

...Another example of the LifeVac being there when it mattered was the case of one-year-old Killian who started choking while eating some carrots.

Killian started to turn red and then purple due to lack of oxygen and back blows, due to his age, were unsuccessful.

LifeVac was then used by his mother Morgan with the pediatric mask which dislodged the carrot on the first application.

Killian was taken to hospital due to the ordeal so that he could have an examination. He was checked over by a doctor and returned home with no adverse effects from the choking ordeal.

Amarannia and Killian are just two of 31 people whose lives have been saved by the LifeVac device.

The product was the idea of American Arthur Lih, who co-developed it with Eric Banagan, who lives in Combe Martin.

Kids' lemonade stand raises money for life-saving device by Briella Tomassetti, FOX5 NYC, July 15, 2019:
So far, about 30 schools on Long Island have added the Life Vac to their safety kits.

The life-saving tool has been placed in more than 200 schools across the nation.

Woman donates choking aids by staff reporter Melissa Klaric, The Herald (Sharon, PA), August 18, 2019 (emphasis added):
(Jamie Mattocks) donated five LifeVac Choking Aids to the Mercer Police Department and the borough. The devices cost $70 each.

...The Mercer resident also donated 10 aids to the Mercer East End Fire Department.

(Mattocks) was contacted by the inventor of the LifeVac Choking Aid, Arthur Lih, of Massapequa, N.Y..

...Mattocks also donated a LifeVac Choking Aid to Mercer Elementary.

“My goal is to get the LifeVac into all the schools in the county,” Mattocks said.

She is also going to reach out to the ambulance companies, who do not carry the devices.

...TO DONATE a LifeVac Choking Device, visit Use the code JN3 to get a $10 discount.
Sarasota County School District gets 150 new devices that could help a choking child by Taylor Torregano, WWSB-TV (Sarasota, FL), December 4, 2019:
The Sarasota County School District just received a donation of 150 LifeVacs - an apparatus used to help save someone who is choking.

The district is calling it another tool in their toolbox to address a nationwide issue.

...“We were approached by a parent at one of our elementary schools whose daughter had a choking incident and she wondered if we were familiar with the device and if we would be interested in obtaining them for the schools," said Suzanne Dubose, supervisor of health services for the Sarasota County School District.

LifeVac took it one step further, offering to donate 150 devices, which were just received about a week ago.

Dubose said before they start using them, they’ll meet in a couple of weeks to train with the nurses and student resource officers, but even then, the Heimlich maneuver will still be their first response.

“If student or staff becomes non-responsive, our response at that point is compression, CPR, per protocol and it’s evidence based," Dubose explained. "The LifeVac, if it’s brought into a situation, can absolutely be used because again, another tool in the tool box.”

The LifeVac is a portable suction device used to clear an upper airway obstruction. It has faced criticism in the past from doctors who said there isn’t enough research on if it could do more harm than good.

150 anti-choking devices donated to Sarasota schools by Kimberly Kuizon, FOX13 News (Tampa, FL), December 17, 2019:

CISD receives choking preventable devices as donation by Ashley Rose, Cleburne (TX) Times-Review, December 18, 2019
Students at Cleburne (Independent School District) are now protected against choking.

The CISD board of trustees received a donation of LifeVAc kits from Pinnacle Bank during Monday night’s meeting.

CISD Lead Nurse Christi Gregory said each campus will now have a life saving kit, which includes three LifeVacs and a practice device to keep students from choking.

Pinnacle Regional President Tim Whitlock, Branch President Amber Witte and the founder/CEO of LifeVac, Arthur Lih, were present at the meeting to give the donation.

“What Mr. Whitlock has done is he challenged all Pinnacle Banks in Texas to purchase these LifeVac machines or devices for their school districts,” Gregory said. “He has made that challenge so maybe other community people will do that and all Texas schools will have this life saving device.”

Monday, April 29, 2019

"Physicians group" or "fanatical animal rights" activists? My letter today to Brown University Medical School re: the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine


About a month ago I blogged, Did animal rights activist Dr. Neal Barnard fund the Heimlich Institute's notorious "malariotherapy" experiments on US Lyme Disease patients? Would his organization have protested the dog lab research that produced "the Heimlich"? My letter to the Mayo Clinic about my dad's problematic 30-year relationship with PCRM.

Between the hash marks are excerpts from a similar letter I sent today. Click here for a copy via my Scribd account.


Jeremiah Schuur, MD, MHS
Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine
The Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island 02912

Jessica Smith MD
Director, Emergency Medicine Residency Program
Rhode Island Hospital
593 Eddy Street
Providence, RI 02903

Dear Drs. Schuur and Smith:

I’m the son of the late Henry J. Heimlich MD, known for the Heimlich maneuver anti-choking treatment.

...One of my research/reporting interests is the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a high-profile Washington, DC nonprofit that’s been around since 1985. Per my website, I’ve also been a public critic of PCRM because of their problematic 30-year relationship with my dad.

...My Google News alert sent me this April 24, 2019 WPRO News story by Steve Klamkin, Physicians group protests live animal use in medical training who reported:
A Washington D.C. – based physicians group waged a protest outside Rhode Island Hospital Wednesday, calling for an end to the use of live animals in joint training with Brown University of emergency medicine residents.

“The skill acquisition and skill retention is just as good if not better with the simulators than with the live animals,” said Dr. Kerry Foley, a retired emergency medical physician with the group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
I also come across this February 1, 2019 Brown Daily Herald article by Cate Ryan, University affiliated residency program accused of violating federal act – Use of live pigs in research breaches Animal Welfare Act, advocacy group alleges who reported:
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine called for federal regulators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to look into animal use at the Warren Alpert Medical School and Rhode Island Hospital.

...John Pippin, the PCRM’s director of academic affairs, told the Associated Press he is confident that the University violated the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare Act includes a clause stating that research involving animals must involve consideration of “alternatives to any procedure likely to produce pain to or distress in an experimental animal.”
I thought I’d take the opportunity to share with you information which in my opinion raises reasonable questions about the organization’s integrity.

Via PCRM’s website:
The Physicians Committee is dedicated to saving and improving human and animal lives through plant-based diets and ethical and effective scientific research.
Via a 2011 column, junk science debunker Joseph A."Dr. Joe" Schwarcz PhD, Director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society, expressed this somewhat different opinion:
I consider PCRM to be a fanatical animal rights group with a clear cut agenda of promoting a vegan lifestyle and eliminating all animal experimentation.
In any event, via numerous published articles from 1994 to the present which I’ve compiled on my blog, PCRM has been called an “animal rights” activist group. If accurate, presumably that perspective influenced their protests of your institution.

Perhaps related, Dr. Pippin, explained his moral philosophy in a profile published in the Spring 2011 issue of American Dog magazine (emphasis added); click here to download a copy of the article:
“Animals have nobody but the animal protection community between them and egregious misuse, abuse, and death at the hands of our species,” (Dr. John Pippin) says. “For those of us with true hearts for animals, such evils as eating, wearing, fighting, breeding, imprisoning, hunting, and experimenting on our animal kin must be ended.”

For the past six years, Dr. Pippin has worked full time with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine…
My letter goes on to discuss:

1) PCRM's reckless promotion of my dad's thoroughly-discredited claims that abdominal thrusts (the Heimlich maneuver) should be used to resuscitate near-drowning victims. Research by my wife and me revealed it was a 40-year scam based entirely on bogus case reports in which, according to my dad, drowning victims were "miraculously revived" by bystanders -- two of whom were longtime cronies of my father, a fact none of them disclosed.

The result of their folly? Per the Washington Post, dozens of poor outcome cases have been associated with the treatment. Even after the treatment was thoroughly-discredited and the phony cases were exposed, PCRM founder/president Neal Barnard MD -- a non-practicing physician trained as a psychiatrist --continued to recommend the treatment.

2) For decades, Dr. Barnard and his organization which claims to promote "ethical and effective scientific research," turned a blind eye to Cincinnati's Heimlich Institute's notorious offshore human experiments in which US and foreign nationals suffering from cancer, Lyme Disease, and AIDS were infected with malaria.

My father, who had no training in immunology called the quack treatment "malariotherapy" and credited Julius Wagner-Jauregg, an early 20th century German eugenicist and Nazi sympathizer as his inspiration.

Here's how Cyndi Monahan, a New Jersey Lyme Disease patient described the treatment via a June 1991 American Health article, Heimlich's Maneuver?
"Within two days I started to get fevers as high as 106 degrees"...After Monahan's return from Mexico City, life consisted of hours of fever followed by chills - and intense pain. "My lower back felt like a truck slammed into it and I found that a malaria headache is the most excruciating pain you can imagine." Her New Jersey doctor allowed the malaria to persist untreated for five weeks. During that time she logged 130 "fever hours," when her temperature exceeded 101 degrees. She vomited constantly, lost 40 lb. and required intravenous fluids to compensate for dehydration. "We went until my body couldn't take it anymore," she recalled, "and then I took the antimalarial drug"...
"I'm going back for another treatment," she says. "Dr. Heimlich told me I may have to do it again. He's made all the arrangements with the doctors in Panama."
As it happens, per this May 30 1991 letter donated by my dad to the University of Cincinnati’s Henry J. Heimlich Archival Collection, Dr. Barnard may have helped finance Ms. Monahan’s “treatment.”

3) Finally, my letter documented how in the early 1970s ago my father developed the Heimlich maneuver using dogs as research models and I posed this devil’s advocate question.
Since dad used the beagles in his research, if PCRM had been around at the time would Dr. Barnard and his organization have attempted to shut down the research and thereby presumably derail the development of the Heimlich maneuver which, according to PCRM’s remembrance of my father, “has saved countless lives”?

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Ongoing editorial exodus of medical professionals from masthead of "predatory" London-based journal [UPDATED 4/27/19]


Via $50-million fine for predatory publisher that swallowed up Canadian science journals by Tom Spears, Ottawa Citizen, April 4, 2019: 
A judge in Nevada has fined the world’s biggest publisher of fake science journals more than $50 million, quoting evidence from this newspaper that helped demonstrate the publisher’s deceptive practices.

Omics International, based in India, operates more than 700 science journals. In recent years, it has bought up two reputable science Canadian publishers — Pulsus Group and Andrew John Publishing — and converted them to companies that will publishing anything for cash.
On April 22, I blogged Medical journals published by "predatory" publisher claim three University of Toronto faculty members are editors -- here's the university's reply after I asked about that, about a couple Pulsus Group journals, Diabetes Management and Clinical Practice (Therapy).

The university replied that the journals' claims were inaccurate and that the three faculty members were instructing the journals to remove their names from the mastheads.

Per my item, recently when I asked Sally Richardson, a faculty member at London's Kingston/St. George's Universities about her name on the masthead of another Pulsus property, the International Journal of Clinical Skills (IJOCS), she replied:
My name shouldn’t be on this list as I haven’t been part of this journal for many years and will have my name removed.
(Yesterday I reported this item about the editorial policy at IJOCS, "Predatory" London-based medical journal: Publication dates of our articles & authors' names are "confidential.")

I thought it would be interesting to learn if other editors on the IJOCS masthead -- there are about two dozen -- were still affiliated with the journal.

As a trial run, this week I wrote to media reps at the four institutions highlighted below.

Today I received the first response re: Dr.. Vinod Patel at the University of Warwick, Coventry. I've posted that below this screenshot and will add responses from the others if/when they reply.

Thu, 25 Apr 2019 13:29:05 +0000

Dear Peter,

Professor Patel has not had any involvement with this journal for the past five years, and has therefore contacted the journal to have his name removed from the editorial board.

Kind regards,

Peter Thorley
Media Relations Manager (Warwick Medical School and Department of Physics) | Press & Media Relations | University of Warwick
Email: | Tel: 024 761 50868 | Mob: +44 (0) 7824 540863 | | University House | Coventry | CV4 8UW | Find us on the interactive map

4/27/19 e-mail to me:

Hi, thanks for getting in touch. FYI, I was on the Editorial Board of the IJOCS from its inception, as were several UK-based colleagues, and I seem to remember receiving hard copy of the first few issues. However I was never asked to do anything 'editorial', eg reviewing papers, attending meetings, offering comment, and quite frankly forgot all about it. I retired over four years ago, so have had no reason to think about it and obviously had no idea of the backstory you describe. I have contacted the journal to ask for my name to be removed from the Board membership list with immediate effect. Good luck with your endeavours!

Best wishes, John Spencer


Emeritus Professor John Spencer
Newcastle upon Tyne

4/26/19 statement from Melanoma Institute, Sydney, Australia via Jennifer Durante, Head of Communications & Fundraising

Associate Professor Robyn Saw is a Faculty Member of Melanoma Institute Australia. Associate Professor Saw has never been associated with the International Journal of Clinical Skills (IJOCS) publication, and has never authorised use of her name as ‘editor’ on the publication masthead. Melanoma Institute Australia requests Assoc Professor Saw’s name be immediately removed from the IJOCS editorial masthead, and all other references in relation to the publication, or legal action will be considered.