Monday, February 11, 2019

Media watchdog reports my efforts to stop UK newspapers from "the Orwellian 'disappearing' of published news reports"


A few weeks ago I blogged, A hole worth plugging? Many UK newspapers can "disappear" online news stories with impunity; today I asked the presiding authority to take a look.

Today the Press Gazette, the prominent UK media watchdog, published an article about my efforts, Blogger asks press regulator to consider sanctions against online publishers that pull articles without explanation by staff reporter Charlotte Tobitt.

Some key pulls:
A US blogger is pushing for a change to the Editors’ Code of Practice – the standards to which most UK newspapers are held – which would see publications sanctioned for pulling articles without explanation.

Peter Heimlich has asked the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee to consider “plugging” a hole in the code which allows publishers to delete online news articles “with impunity.”

...Heimlich referenced three articles published by Independent Press Standards Organisation member publications that relate to his area of research and which were deleted with no explanation: 
  • Mail Online: Ed Byrne saves choking fan’s life, 2 January 2018
  • Northampton Chronicle & Echo: Northampton care home staff save residents’ life after he started choking, 15 June 2018
  • Milton Keynes Citizen: Milton Keynes man’s device saves 11 people from choking to death, 17 January 2019
Heimlich told Press Gazette: “’Here today, gone tomorrow’ reporting is not only junk journalism, it’s a thumb in the eye to readers: ‘If we get something wrong, we’ll just bury it and you don’t deserve an explanation.’"

...“I don’t know if the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee has ever reviewed/addressed the problem of member publications making like Winston Smith, but as a result of my experiences, I thought it was worth bringing to their attention. I’m curious to learn how they respond.”

...In a letter to Code Committee secretary Jonathan Grun, Heimlich wrote: “For instance, if an article includes false information, rather than exercising editorial responsibility to correct errors, a publication may simply eliminate the entire story.

“That may shield reporters and editors from embarrassment (or worse), but in my opinion the Orwellian ‘disappearing’ of published news reports is a disservice to readers and to the record.

“It’s also a slippery ethical slope. For example, if an advertiser doesn’t like critical information in a story, could a word in the ear of a person with authority at the newspaper lead to the offending article being sent down the memory hole?”

Grun told Press Gazette he had received Heimlich’s request and that “suggestions for amendments to the Editors’ Code are considered by the Editors’ Code Committee in due course”.
Will the Editors' Code Committee "plug the memory hole" into which "most UK newspapers" may "disappear" published news reports?

To find out, keep reading The Sidebar!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Yo Will Smith! Your birthday tribute to my dad for saving your brother's life may be misplaced



As Sidebar readers know, in 1976 my friend, retired anesthesiologist Chuck Guildner MD of Everett, WA, published a research study that concluded chest thrusts are more effective for responding to a choking emergency than my dad's namesake below-the-ribcage abdominal thrust maneuver.

Since then, there's been a lively debate in the medical community over which is the most effective and safest treatment.

For example, last August fellow blogger Anthony Pearson MD of St. Louis (aka The Skeptical Cardiologist) published the provocatively-titled A Call To Reconsider The Heimlich Experiment: Let’s Scientifically Determine The Best Approach To Choking Victims.

Along those lines, an emergency medicine specialist once asked me, "How many successful choking rescues using chest thrusts have been incorrectly attributed to the Heimlich maneuver?"

Based on the above animated fun video posted on February 3, 2019, one such case may have been the brother of multi-talented actor/comedian/producer/rapper/songwriter Will Smith.

Here's Will's narration:
Today is Henry Heimlich's birthday. I actually saved my brother's life once with a Heimlich maneuver.

McDonald's had come out with that McRib sandwich and he went and got the McDonald's McRib. And we were pulled over in Philly and all of a sudden my brother just punches me in my back and I'm, like, "Ow man, shit!"

And I turn around and he's in the car and he's going (makes extreme gestures indicating choking) and he's doin' that.
So I reached down inside of the car and got right below the sternum...

[Ghostly apparition of my dad] "Use the Heimlich, Will!"

And it was barrelin' [?] the up move and the down and the McRib sandwich shot out of his nose onto the windshield, it was a full splash out of his nose.
Imitating his brother: "You saved my life, you saved my life!"

So happy birthday, Henry Heimlich, you actually saved my brother's life.
I have zero expertise in physiology, but I'm not sure how the McRib went from his brother's esophagus through his nose!

That aside, since Will was outside the car and reached in through the window, it's difficult to imagine his arms were long enough to get below his brother's rib cage.

And Will says he squeezed "right below the sternum." That sounds like a chest thrust.

Therefore, Will's birthday tribute to my pa appears to have been misplaced.

Shouldn't he be thanking Dr. Guildner?

Yo Will, if you and/or your brother want to check in with Chuck to express your gratitude for getting the better of that McRib, he's alive and well and regularly navigating the waterways near his home in Everett, Washington near Seattle.

Feel free to e-mail me for Dr. Guildner's contact info.

Charles W. Guildner MD

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

$100+m class action lawsuits against InventHelp et al: Compilation of court filings, media reports, attorney contacts (updated 2/5/19)



Click here for an incomplete compilation of court filings via my Scribd account.

Would-be inventors accuse InventHelp of fraud, seek $36M by Bill Heltzel, Westfair Online,February 7, 2018

Pittsburgh invention promotion company accused of scamming thousands of inventors by Paul Van Osdol, WTAE News (ABC Pittsburgh affiliate), July 19, 2019

Inventors Suing InventHelp Want to Know Why George Foreman Represents the Company by Margaret Downing, Houston Press, September 4, 2018
There is a lawsuit and [Spring, Texas resident] Etta Calhoun’s name is on it, the lead name, in fact, on a class action lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania. There is another class action lawsuit in New York state. The defendants in both cases are InventHelp and associated companies in which Calhoun and others allege that InventHelp’s operation is a scam, that InventHelp and its associated companies prey upon low income people, often minorities, and either do nothing or deliver subpar work.

...InventHelp denies all allegations and has tried unsuccessfully to have both lawsuits thrown out of court, insisting in one case that the plaintiffs were clients of another company, not InventHelp. George Foreman is not named as a defendant, although (plaintiffs' attorney Julie Pecharsky) Plitt says he may be added later.
We were unable to reach (retired boxer George) Foreman.
...We did talk with his son George Foreman IV who said InventHelp was a great company and expressed surprise at our call. He said they’d never heard of any lawsuit against InventHelp. He said he’d see if his father would talk to us, but that never happened and instead in a subsequent call, Foreman IV politely referred us back to InventHelp.
The lawsuits each ask for a jury trial, $36 million in relief and punitive damages and another $72 million in compensatory damages.
...Asked if she believed more than a few clients – who paid anywhere from $700 to $30,000 for InventHelp’s assistance – bought into InventHelp because of Foreman’s representation, Plitt says “More than several. I would say the vast majority of them.
A retired engineer patented his own game, but thinks he may have been gamed by a marketing pitch by Courtney Linder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 21, 2019

InventHelp Fraud Class Action Has Legs, Court Told by Matthew Santoni, Law360, February 1, 2019 (behind subscription paywall)
(Etta) Calhoun is represented by Marc S. Oxman and Julie Pechersky Plitt of Oxman Law Group PLLC, Richard J. Levan and Jon-Jorge Aras of Levan Legal LLC, and Stanley W. Greenfield of Greenfield & Kraut.

InventHelp is represented by David J. Garraux of Fox Rothschild LLC.

Thomas Frost is represented by James W. Kraus of Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti LLP.

The case is Calhoun v. Invention Submission Corp. et aI., case number 2: 18-cv-Ol022, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Audi Super Bowl TV commercial features "lifesaving choking rescue" using chest thrusts

As Sidebar readers know, in the medical community there's been a 40-year debate whether chest thrusts are more effective and safer for responding to a choking emergency than my dad's namesake abdominal thrust maneuver.

The debate began with the publication of a 1976 a research study by my friend, retired anesthesiologist Chuck Guildner MD of Everett, WA, which concluded chest thrusts were an improvement over than "the Heimlich." (Click here for more about that.)

Car manufacturer Audi appears to agree with Chuck.

Via Audi's electrified Super Bowl ad by Larry P. Vellequette in today's Automotive News:
Spoiler alert: Audi's electrified commercial for Sunday's Super Bowl is a little nuts.

...Seated inside the electric sports car, the man presses the start button, bringing the car to life, but before he can drive off, his chest begins to convulse. The setting abruptly switches to a cubicle in an office, where the man, unconscious, is being given the Heimlich maneuver by a co-worker, and spits out a single cashew that had choked him. He regains consciousness, clearly disappointed.
In fact, the man is not given the Heimlich maneuver, he's clearly being given...oh, just watch it and see for yourself.