Wednesday, May 16, 2012

After nearly four decades, has my father's nonprofit finally stopped recommending the potentially lethal Heimlich maneuver for drowning rescue?

38 years after my father and his cronies started faking case reports to promote the Heimlich maneuver as a drowning rescue method and on the heels of a Special Report by Aquatics International magazine, the Heimlich Institute may finally have given up promoting the treatment.

That's not definitive, but yesterday the main pages promoting the Heimlich for drowning were deleted from the organization's website.

Same goes for the organization's specious claims that the maneuver is effective for treating asthma and cystic fibrosis.

Both treatments have been thoroughly discredited as unproven, useless, and potentially lethal by medical experts and medical organizations including the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, and the American Lung Association.

At this writing, the deleted pages are still available via Google cache. If you click here for the cached version of the Heimlich home page, then hover over "The Heimlich Maneuver" on the main menu bar, here's what comes up:

But go to the Institute's home page today, hover over the same menu bar, and here's what you'll see:

If you clicked on the green bar labeled "drowning," it would take you to this contents page with links to articles and information, still available via Google's cache:

Here's what now comes up at, the URL for that page:

Same goes for, the Heimlich for asthma contents page that yesterday looked like this - screenshot courtesy of Google's cache - but is now also HTTP 404:

So has the Institute pulled the plug on both treatments?

That's inconclusive because the Heimlich website still hosts dozens of pages that had been linked to the main drowning and asthma pages. Click here for a list I made.

And the site's home page still includes...

I'll send an inquiry to Deaconess Associations Foundation, which since June 1998 has wholly owned the Heimlich Institute, and will report the results in a follow-up item.

UPDATE, 10:25AM:
my 5/16/12 inquiry to the Heimlich Institute re: whether the organization still promotes the Heimlich maneu...

Current Heimlich Institute corporate board