Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Homeland Security apologizes to me for FOIA snafu, but there's a bigger issue in the weeds

6/18/11: From On Second Thought by Ben Kaufman, Cincinnati CityBeat's media critic:
(Anthony M. Bennett, disclosure branch chief of the Department of Homeland Security wrote) to Peter M. Heimlich, who was pursuing the cozy relationship between federal officials and funding of the dubious Save-A-Life Foundation. Because it’s the latest entry in my “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” file, I will quote Bennett’s exercise in critical thinking a couple weeks ago:
"This letter pertains to your (Peter Heimlich’s) Jan. 20, 2010, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Federal Emergency Management Agency...By a letter dated March 19, 2010, we advised you of the estimated fee of $410.00 for processing your FOIA request. Because the estimated fee exceeded $250.00, we required an advance payment of the estimated fee for us to continue processing your request. We also advised you in that letter that if payment was not received within 14 business days, we would consider your request withdrawn. To date, we have not received your payment. As a result, we are administratively closing this case.

"Additionally, please be advised that because we have not received a payment of $410.00, we will not process any future requests you submit to this office. Moreover, in accordance with 6 C.F.R. 5.11(g), we may charge interest on any unpaid bill starting on the 31st day following the date of this letter. Interest charges will be assessed at the rate provided in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and will accrue from the date of the billing, in this case March 19, 2010, until payment is received by FEMA.

"FEMA shall follow the provisions of the Debt Collection Act of1982, as amended, and its administrative procedures, including the use of consumer reporting agencies, collection agencies, and offset. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter, please feel free to contact this office..."
Click here to view a copy of Dr. Bennett's March 31, 2011 letter.

Kaufman's publishing date coincided with the following correspondence:
my 4/18/11 inquiry/response to Dept. of Homeland Security

4/18/11 apology from Homeland Security 

While I'm pleased to get an apology from DHS and to once again be permitted to file FOIA requests with that agency, during the course of this dust-up, I took a closer look at 6 C.F.R. 5.11, cited in Dr. Bennett's letter. That's the section in DHS's FOIA guidelines which governs fees.

This caught my eye (emphasis added): 
(l) Payment of outstanding fees. The Department shall not process a FOIA request from persons with an unpaid fee from any previous FOIA request to any Federal agency until that outstanding fee has been paid in full to the agency.
In other words, if you owe a fee to another federal agency, for example, the Department of the Navy, DHS can refuse to fill your FOIA request.

Some Googling led to an interesting preliminary result. DHS appears to be the only federal agency whose FOIA guidelines include this cross-agency right to deny which in effect allows DHS to play the role of collection agency for any other branch of the government: "Want us to fill your FOIA? Not until you settle your bill with the Department of ____________."

I'm doing some snooping and if anything interesting turns up, I'll post the results.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

St. John Ambulance Australia: Heimlich maneuver "can lead to serious consequences...even death."

From Basic first aid may save a life by Bianca Clare, Sunshine Coast Daily (Australia), April 4, 2011:
Darryl Clare is not surprised that a new survey has found one in three people have no idea how to administer first aid. The St John Ambulance first aid training officer says "Dr Google" and Hollywood blockbuster movies are increasingly misleading the public on what to do when things go wrong.

"The most common mistake made is thinking the Heimlich manoeuvre is the best way to treat someone who is choking," he said. " This is incorrect. The correct method is to give the patient five back blows between the shoulder blades.

"The Heimlich manoeuvre has been widely criticised, even by the founder's son.

"It can work it some cases, but it can lead to serious consequences...even death."

The survey revealed 36% of 1134 respondents would immediately think of the Heimlich manoeuvre when someone was choking.
From worksheet for 2010 ILCOR Evidence-Based Review of Science for Emergency Cardiac Care (p.7-8):

Case reports of complications from abdominal thrusts

Agia GA, Hurst DJ. Pneumomediastinum following the Heimlich maneuver. JACEP. 1979;8:473-475.

Ayerdi J, Gupta SK, Sampson LN, Deshmukh N. Acute abdominal aortic thrombosis following the Heimlich maneuver. Cardiovasc Surg. 2002;10:154-156.

Bintz M, Cogbill TH. Gastric rupture after the Heimlich maneuver. J Trauma. 1996;40:159-160.

Chapman JH, Menapace FJ, Howell RR. Ruptured aortic valve cusp: a complication of the Heimlich maneuver. Ann Emerg Med 1983; 12: 446-448.

Cowan M, Bardole J, Dlesk A. Perforated stomach following the Heimlich maneuver. Am J Emerg Med. 1987;5:121-122.

Croom DW. Rupture of stomach after attempted Heimlich maneuver. Jama. 1983;250:2602-2603.

Desai SC, Chute DJ, Desai BC, Koloski ER. Traumatic dissection and rupture of the abdominal aorta as a complication of the Heimlich maneuver. J Vasc Surg 2008; 48: 1325-1327.

Drinka P. TBroken ribs following CPR or the Heimlich maneuver. J Am Med Directors Association 2009;10:283-284.

Dupre MW, Silva E, Brotman S. Traumatic rupture of the stomach secondary to Heimlich maneuver. Am J Emerg Med. 1993;11:611-612.

Feeney SN, Pegoli W, Gesting ML. Pancreatic transection as a complication of the Heimlich maneuver: case report and literature review. J Trauma 2007; 62: 252-254.

Feldman T, Mallon SM, Bolooki H. Fatal acute aortic regurgitation in a person performing the Heimlich maneuver. N Engl J Med; 1986; 315: 1613.

Gallardo A, Rosado R, Ramirez D, Medina P, Mezquita S, Sanchez J. Rupture of the lesser gastric curvature after a Heimlich maneuver. Surg Endosc. 2003;17:1495.

Haynes DE, Haynes BE, Yong YV. Esophageal rupture complicating Heimlich maneuver. Am J Emerg Med 1984; 2: 507-509.

Kirshner RL, Green RM. Acute thrombosis of abdominal aortic aneurysm subsequent to Heimlich maneuver: a case report. J Vasc Surg. 1985;2:594-596.

Lee SL, Kim SS, Shekherdimian S, Ledbetter DJ. Complications as a result of the Heimlich maneuver. J Trauma 2009;66:E34-E35.

Mack L, Forbes TL, Harris KA. Acute aortic thrombosis following incorrect application of the Heimlich maneuver. Ann Vasc Surg. 2002;16:130-133.

Majumdar A, Sedman PC. Gastric rupture secondary to successful Heimlich manoeuvre. Postgrad Med J. 1998;74:609-610.

Martin TJ, Bobba RK, Metzger R, Madalina M, Bollu M, Patel BG, Kazemi MM. Acute abdominal aortic thrombosis as a complication of the Heimlich maneuver. J Am Geriatr Soc 2007; 55: 1146−1147.

Meredith MJ, Liebowitz R. Rupture of the esophagus caused by the Heimlich maneuver. Ann Emerg Med. 1986;15:106-107.

Nowitz A, Lewer BM, Galletly DC. An interesting complication of the Heimlich manoeuvre. Resuscitation 1998;39:129--131.

Olenchock SA, Rowlands DM, Reed JF, Garzia FM, Zasik JM. Dysphagia after Heimlich maneuver. Chest 2004; 125: 302-304.

Orlowski JP. Vomiting as a complication of the Heimlich maneuver. JAMA. 1987;258:512-513.

Palleiro MMO, López CB, Pretel MCF, Fernández JS Hepatic rupture after Heimlich maneuver. Annal Emerg Med 2007; 49: 825-826.

Rakotoharinandrasana H, Petit E, Dumas P, Vandermarcq P, Gil R, Neau JP. [Internal carotid artery dissection after Heimlich maneuver]. Ann Fr Anesth Reanim. 2003;22:43-45.

Rich GH. Pneumomediastinum following the Heimlich maneuver. Ann Emerg Med. 1980;9:279-820.

Roehm EF, Twiest MW, Williams RC. Abdominal aortic thrombosis in association with an attempted Heimlich maneuver. JAMA. 1983;249:1186-1187.

Tung PH, Law S, Chu KM, Law WL, Wong J. Gastric rupture after Heimlich maneuver and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Hepatogastroenterology. 2001;48:109-111.

Ujjin V, Ratanasit S, Nagendran T. Diaphragmatic hernia as a complication of the Heimlich maneuver. Int Surg. 1984;69:175-176.

Valero V. Mesenteric laceration complicating a Heimlich maneuver. Ann Emerg Med. 1986;15:105-106.

van der Ham AC, Lange JF. Traumatic rupture of the stomach after Heimlich maneuver. J Emerg Med. 1990;8:713-715.

Visintine RE, Baick CH. Ruptured stomach after Heimlich maneuver. JAMA. 1975;234:415.