Thursday, August 30, 2018

Last year Louisville, KY home/residential care conglomerate ResCare "purchased and placed" a controversial anti-choking device in over 2,600 of their facilities across the country; I've asked U.S. & KY government agencies to investigate


Below the hash marks is a considerably abbreviated version of an investigations request letter I sent on August 28, 2018 to:
Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Andy Beshear, Kentucky Attorney General

Steve Davis, Inspector General
Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
My letter, entirely based on publicly-available information, includes links and quotes from three recent television news investigative reports about an anti-choking device called the Dechoker; a letter from a former executive associated with the device; and a testimonial letter from a ResCare vice president.

Click here to download a copy.

Also see my March 26, 2018 item, "Growing pains" for company selling anti-choking device? NC state "investment scheme" investigation & three debt collection lawsuits, one filed by former top executive.


Dear Mr. Levinson, Mr. Beshear, and Mr. Davis:

Via the web page
(ResCare Inc., founded and headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky is) the largest diversified health and human services provider in the U.S., ResCare* is the largest private provider of services to people with disabilities, the largest privately-owned home care company, the largest provider of specialized high-acuity neuro-rehab in community settings and the largest career center workforce contractor in the U.S.
Based on the following information, ResCare Inc. appears to be using residents at over 2600 of their facilities to test an unapproved, experimental medical device called the Dechoker.

To my knowledge, no research has been published in the literature about the device which is intended for use in life or death choking emergencies.

Further, to my knowledge, the device, which is sold by Dechoker LLC (formerly based in Concord, NC, now in Denver, CO), is not recommended by any medical organizations or by resuscitation experts.

I have no knowledge whether or not residents of ResCare facilities or their legal guardians have been informed about the potential use of the device. However, according to the attached February 20, 2018 testimonial letter signed by a senior ResCare executive, the Dechoker has been employed in at least seven choking emergencies at ResCare facilities.

...This is to request that you obtain and review any relevant information regarding ResCare’s purchase of and placement of the Dechoker “in all 2,600+ ResCare facilities across the country”; that you determine if that purchase and placement complies with all applicable regulations; and that you make public the results.

This is also to request that you investigate the cases in which...the Dechoker has (allegedly) been used to save the lives of seven choking victims in ResCare facilities, and that you make public the results including but not limited to the dates and locations of the cases and the names and job titles of all participating ResCare employees.

Thank you for your time, attention, and I look forward to your reply. Please feel free correspond with me via e-mail and if you have any questions I might be able to answer, please don’t hesitate to ask.


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

* According to an August 15. 2018 press release, “BrightSpring Health Services is the new name for Kentucky-based ResCare...”

Saturday, August 25, 2018

My employee misconduct complaint against Chicago Tribune Standards Editor Margaret Holt -- and a related crowd source inquiry


If I come across factual information in mainstream press reports that I know is false, I do what I can to fix it.

In fact, according to Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple, I may hold the record for published corrections for a single news topic.

That's one reason it bugs me when journalists refuse to publish corrections for straightforward factual errors.

And that's one reason why the other day I filed a misconduct complaint against Margaret Holt, Standards Editor at the Chicago Tribune and a prominent figure in the newspaper business.

The tale starts with a July 16, 2018 Tribune story, Family members of Dr. Henry Heimlich say Red Cross guidance on choking victims could end in death by reporter

about a campaign against the American Red Cross (ARC) launched last month by my sister Janet Heimlich, a journalist/author/nonprofit executive in Austin, Texas, and my brother Phil Heimlich, a former elected official in Cincinnati.

They're on the warpath because the ARC recommends performing back blows along with our dad's namesake maneuver (abdominal thrusts) to respond to a choking emergency.

In my opinion, Ms. Olumhense's story has some serious reportorial problems. (Re: the medical issues, visit my web page for links to related published documents.)

For example, the ARC's current protocol has been in place since 2005, a fact that's not mentioned in her article, so it's unclear if Ms. Olumhense was even aware of that.

If she was, presumably she would have asked Janet and Phil why they waited 13 years to voice their concerns.

Moving right along, here's the problem at hand:

From: Margaret C. Holt <>
To: Peter Heimlich <>
Subject: Tribune follow-up
Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2018 16:37:49 +0000

Mr. Heimlich:
Your email was referred to me for response. The story is straightforward in quoting people about the topic, including a reference to a disagreement between some family members and the Red Cross. There is nothing further beyond what is in the published article.
Margaret Holt
Standards Editor
Since I knew the part of the sentence about the AHA was wrong, I realized Ms. Holt didn't know what she was talking about.

And since she didn't ask what my concerns might be, presumably she didn't care, so I same-day replied:

Would you please provide me with your superior's name and e-mail address?

Thank you for your continued attention and I look forward to your reply.

Cheers, Peter
A week later I hadn't received a reply, so on July 23 I sent a friendly "can you help me?" e- mail to Tribune Managing Editor Peter Kendall who some years ago had capably assisted me with an unrelated editorial problem.

He passed the baton back to Ms. Holt:
Mr. Heimlich,
Thank you for your email.
I am copying Margaret on this so you can share any specific questions or concerns about the story.
She is the appropriate person to handle this.
After thanking him, I e-mailed media representatives at the AHA, NSC, and ACEP and asked for their organizations' positions.

An AHA Vice President e-mailed me this, taken from the organization's current guidelines (my emphasis):
“…chest thrusts, back slaps, and abdominal thrusts are feasible and effective for relieving severe FBAO [Foreign Body Airway Obstruction] in conscious (responsive) adults and children over 1 year of age.
The NSC rep replied that their organization adheres to AHA guidelines.

And an ACEP manager in that organization's communications department e-mailed me that their organization "does not have a formal policy on the Heimlich maneuver."

Based on those e-mails, the Tribune's claim that the three organizations "

Along the way I also identified what may be the source of Ms.

article was apparently triggered by a July 10 e-mail and press release snet by a publicist representing Janet and Phil which included this sentence:
The American Heart Association teaches the Heimlich Maneuver as the only method to be used to save a choking victim, as does the National Safety Council and the American College of Emergency Physicians.