Fairfax police officers came to the rescue of a choking man at a Subway restaurant on Thursday.
...Police said in a statement, "Officer Mulhern utilized his training and administered back blows and Heimlich maneuver. Due to the officers' quick actions, the man's airway was cleared and all were able to finish enjoying their meals."
The American Red Cross' first-aid procedure recommends five back slaps and then five abdominal thrusts for someone who's choking.
...Those recommendations "horrify" (Dr. Henry) Heimlich..."Many scientific studies" have proven "if a person is choking and the food is in the airway, if you hit them on the back, it causes the food to go deeper and tighter into the airway."
(The) only known study comparing the Heimlich maneuver and back blows was performed by three Yale scientists: Richard L. Day, Edmund S. Crelin and Arthur B. DuBois.
|Richard L. Day MD (source)|
The paper, published in 1982 in the journal Pediatrics, concluded that the Heimlich is superior. Back blows are not merely ineffective, they can force blockages down the throat and toward the larynx - exactly the wrong direction, the researchers concluded.
"Choking: The Heimlich Abdominal Thrust vs Back Blows: An Approach to Measurement of Inertial and Aerodynamic Forces," by Day, Crelin and DuBois, could well have been the final word.
Except that in acknowledgements at the end of the paper, the authors credit support from the "Dysphagia Foundation Inc. of Cincinnati Inc."
And records from the Ohio Secretary of State's office show that the Dysphagia Foundation was renamed "The Heimlich Institute" Aug. 30, 1982.
In other words, the Yale experts studying the Heimlich maneuver were apparently assisted by Dr. Henry J. Heimlich, developer and tireless promoter of the Heimlich maneuver. He referred to back blows as "death blows."
The connection between Heimlich and the Yale scientists appears to pose at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.
...(Dr. Heimlich) did not return phone calls.
I've already reported that my father's financial arrangement with Day was part of a bizarre campaign to eliminate backblows from choking rescue protocols.
"To win," as reporter Tom Francis put it, "the choking rescue crown."
And beginning in 1986 and for the next two decades, my father wore that crown. During those years, U.S. first aid guidelines recommended only his namesake treatment.
But if current first aid guidelines and the Fairfax cops are any indication, despite the efforts of my crooked father and his cronies, science appears to have righted itself.