Thursday, December 20, 2012

Barbados newspaper: my inquiry triggers Ministry of Health investigation of "Heimlich for asthma" study funded by Heimlich Institute and Rotary

On December 6 the University of Cincinnati News Record published an article about a handful of media inquiries I'd sent re: a research study conducted in Barbados, West Indies:
The study tested whether or not a modified version of the Heimlich Maneuver could stop an acute asthma attack....The 67 children who participated were between the ages of six and 16....
"Since at least 1996, based on dubious evidence, my father has claimed that the Heimlich Maneuver can stop asthma attacks, but asthma experts have expressed strong doubts," Peter Heimlich said...."A couple weeks ago, I sent inquiries to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and to Donville Inniss, the Barbados Minister of Health, asking for the name of the IRB and when the (Ministry of Health's) Ethics Committee approved the study," Peter Heimlich said. "I haven't received any answers."

Professor Anne St. John accepting Distinguished Community Service Award from Steve Blackett, Barbados Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, June 2012 (source)

On December 16, the Barbados Sunday Sun published a related article by reporter Maria Bradshaw that included (emphasis added):
The Barbados study was conducted by a team of researchers led by respected paediatrician, Professor Anne St John.

In an email to this newspaper, she stated that the study did receive approval from the local Institutional Review Board; that no harm was done to any of the 67 children who participated; and that the Ministry of Health was carrying out an investigation into the matter....
The Sun article didn't include the name of the IRB or the name of the Ministry of Health official who's in charge of the investigation.

Also from the Sun:
(Peter Heimlich says that his father) contributed US$1000 to the Barbados study....
To be precise, in response to an inquiry I received from Ms. Bradshaw, I wrote her that, based on documents in UC's Henry J. Heimlich Archival Collection, the Heimlich Institute (not my father) had contributed $1,000.

Also note his mentioning additional funding from Rotary. (More about that in a future item.) 

Finally, also from the Sun:
(Peter Heimlich) said he had evidence that in 1999 his father attempted to conduct a similar asthma study at Cincinnati’s Deaconess Hospital, but had been turned down by the hospital’s Institutional Review Board (IRB).