Saturday, November 27, 2021

A tale of two corrections requests: Part II, Kiwi columnist conceals cock-up!

What do a blogging rabbi in Boca Raton, FL, and New Zealand Herald columnist Ana Samways have in common?

In articles published in the same week, they made the identical factual error. 

When I sent them polite requests for published corrections, rather than simply correcting the record and informing readers that they'd goofed, they gave me material for this pair of blog items. 

The one you're reading is a complaint I filed yesterday against the Herald with the New Zealand Media Council, "(an industry self-regulatory body that provides) the public with an independent forum for resolving complaints involving the newspapers, magazines and the websites of such publications and other digital media."

I'll update with the Council's response.


### 

Subject: complaint against NZ Herald, 26 November 2021
Date: Fri, Nov 26, 2021 at 4:12 PM
Cc: Charlotte Tobitt

Mary Major
Executive Director
NZ Media Council
79 Boulcott Street
Wellington, 6011 New Zealand

Dear Ms. Major:

This is me: http://tinyurl.com/ych7o7dr

Today I attempted to submit the following complaint via your website, but when I made multiple attempts using your online form, I kept receiving this message and was unable to proceed:



The publication date of the problematic Herald article was 28 October 2021 and, per the Media Council's website, the complaint submission window is but one calendar month - two days from today - so I would greatly appreciate you accepting my complaint via this email.

Would you please review the attached pdf which consists of emails I recently exchanged with Herald columnist Ana Samways? It's in reverse chronology, so please start at the bottom and read up.

Briefly, per my first email to Ms. Samways - dated 29 October and clearly marked PRIVATE EMAIL; NOT FOR PUBLICATION - I explained that she'd made a factual error in this first item from her previous day's Sideswipe column:

1. Henry Heimlich demonstrated his signature manoeuvre thousands of times throughout his life but he never got the chance to use it in an actual emergency until he was 96 when he saved a woman in his nursing home from choking on a burger.

As I explained to Ms. Samways and provided thorough supporting documentation, from 2001-2006 my father had told at least four reporters that he'd saved the life of a choking victim at a Cincinnati, Ohio, restaurant in 2001.

In other words, this part of her item was wrong - (Dr. Heimlich) never got the chance to use (his namesake anti-choking manoeuvre) in an actual emergency until he was 96 (in 2016) - so I requested a published correction.

Instead of correcting her error, without my consent she published this in her 9 November 2021 column:


In two 14 November 2021 emails to Ms. Samways, I pointed out that the sentences she lifted from my first email did not correct her original error. I also pointed out that I hadn't given her permission to publish my email and asked if doing so was in compliance with her paper's editorial policy?

She then wrote me a rude email in which failed to address her factual error or to answer my question. In my final email, I asked Ms. Samways for her editor's name and email address. I never received a reply, hence this complaint.

But there's more.

When I subsequently revisited the URL of her 28 October column, I discovered her item about my father (with the factual error) had been replaced with this unrelated item without a note to readers explaining the substitution:



To summarize:

1) Instead of correcting a factual error, the Herald entirely replaced part of an article, presumably to "disappear" the error.

2) The Herald published sentences from an email clearly marked PRIVATE EMAIL; NOT FOR PUBLICATION.

Would you please determine if either or both actions are in compliance with your organization's policies and provide me with the results?

Incidentally, per this 30 May 2019 Press Gazette report by Charlotte Tobitt, my efforts revealed that member publications of the UK's Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) could "disappear" articles without recourse. I hope that doesn't go for your organization's member publications.

Thank you for your time/consideration, best of the holiday season, and would you please confirm receipt?

Sincerely,

Peter M. Heimlich
Peachtree Corners, GA 30096 USA
ph: (678)322-7984‬
e-mail: peter.heimlich@gmail.com
website: http://medfraud.info
blog: http://the-sidebar.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/medfraud_pmh
bio: http://tinyurl.com/ych7o7dr

cc: Charlotte Tobitt, Press Gazette

A tale of two correction requests, Part I: If you can't trust a rabbi, who can you trust?

What do a blogging rabbi in Boca Raton, FL, and New Zealand Herald columnist Ana Samways have in common?

In articles published in the same week, they made the identical factual error. 

And when I sent them polite requests for published corrections, rather than correct the record and inform their readers that they'd goofed, they gave me material for this pair of blog items.


According to his website, Ephrem Goldberg is "the Senior Rabbi of the Boca Raton Synagogue (BRS), a rapidly-growing congregation of over 800 families and over 1,000 children in Boca Raton, Florida. BRS is the largest Orthodox Synagogue in the Southeast United States."

From Rabbi Goldberg's November 9 blog item, Are You An Earth Angel?:
Prior to 1974, the standard practice for dealing with someone who was choking was to whack the afflicted person on the back. Dr. Henry Heimlich argued hitting them that way can force the obstruction further into the gullet, rather than dislodge it. He worked on various theories attempting a better way before ultimately coming up with the technique of putting one’s arms around the person choking and exerting upward abdominal thrusts, just above the navel and below the ribs, with the linked hands in a fist, until the obstruction is dislodged.

...Despite introducing the technique, Heimlich had never actually used it the 42 years of its existence. In 2016, Dr. Heimlich was in the dining room of his retirement home in Cincinnati. A fellow resident at the next table began to choke. Without hesitation, Heimlich spun her around in her chair so he could get behind her and administered several upward thrusts with a fist below the chest until the piece of meat she was choking on popped out of her throat and she could breathe again.
Click on the link in his first paragraph and you'll be taken to a May 27, 2016 Guardian article by reporter Joanna Walters, Dr Henry Heimlich uses Heimlich manoeuvre to save a life at 96, which includes this at the end:
Readers’ editor’s note, added 28 June 2016: This article has been amended to reflect the uncertainty about whether Ms Ris is the first choking diner Dr Heimlich personally saved by using his manoeuvre.
That's because immediately after the first version of the article appeared, I contacted the Guardian (and other news outlets that got punk'd) and shared this information that appeared in the June 28 revision:
After initial reports emerged of Heimlich and his son Philip declaring this was the first time the retired surgeon had used his technique to treat someone who was choking, an account emerged of an earlier incident.

A 2003 BBC Online report quoted Heimlich talking about using the manoeuvre on a choking diner in a restaurant in 2000. Reports also appeared in the New Yorker and the Chicago Sun-Times. Interviewed again on Friday afternoon by the Guardian, the 96-year-old Heimlich said he did not recall such an incident. His son Philip also stated that he had no knowledge of his father using the technique in any prior emergency..

Since we're on the subject, take a look at this clip from Remembering Dr. Heimlich, Decades TV Network, December 20, 2016 featuring an interview with dad and alleged choking victim Patty Ris:


In the bottom right corner in the last scene, you'll see the walker dad relied on to get around. He was so frail, in the clip he can barely get his arms around Ms. Ris.

Did he really have the strength to compress her diaphragm by administering, as Rabbi Goldberg claimed, "several upward thrusts with a fist below the chest"?

As suggested by this wry June 1, 2016 column by James M. Berklan in McKnights Long-Term Care News, This lifesaving coincidence definitely makes you swallow deeply, was it all a media stunt cooked up by Deupree House's PR team as a tie-in to National Heimlich Maneuver Week?

Of course, unless someone coughs up more information we won't know for certain. 

But we do know that Rabbi Goldberg got it wrong about Mr. Ris being dad's first claimed rescue. 

Also apparently the rabbi failed to read the Guardian article he linked to in his item.

In a polite November 11 text, I introduced myself and wrote: 
My Google alert sent me your article today about my dad. You made a somewhat serious factual error. If you'd like to learn more so you decide whether or not you wish to publish a correction, please email me at Peter.Heimlich@gmail.com

A short while later I received this encouraging reply:


I then sent him a friendly email with information that I thought might interest a religious scholar. 

In addition to explaining the error in his "Earth Angel" item, I wrote:
One unexpected privilege and pleasure of the research/whistleblowing efforts by my wife Karen Shulman and me (which helped expose my dad as a dangerous charlatan) is the opportunities I've had to connect with interesting, thoughtful people with whom we otherwise would never have had the opportunity to interact. As it happens, you are my second rabbi! Some years ago I had a lively correspondence with a Southern California rabbi who appreciated the ethical and moral ambiguities in what Karen and I call (for lack of a better term) the Heimlich Saga.

Along those lines, I would much welcome your thoughts as a scholar and presumably a mensch. (smile) Seriously, I have minimal religious training, but I'm confident the Talmud must speak to some of the issues raised by this thorny and perhaps singular story. Heck, maybe one or both of us can even get a blog item out of it.

His reply?

Thank you for being in touch, sounds like a very painful issue. Wishing you only strength and comfort.

During the course of the next week I sent Rabbi Goldberg two more polite emails and a text in which I explained New Zealand columnist Ana Samways had made the same error (see Part II) and that her unusual response to my corrections request had given me enough to blog an item I intended to call "A tale of two corrections requests."

I bent over backwards to give him every opportunity and explained that if he didn't reply, all I had to run with was the above email.

He didn't reply.


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

I caught the CDC's FOIA Director violating the Freedom of Information Act - here's what happened when I took it to his boss

CDC FOIA Director Roger Andoh (source)

My first rule when filing a public records request? Always state a dollar cap limit. 

If you don't, the agency can legally bill you whatever it determines is the processing fee. 

That's why in a May 11, 2017 Freedom of Information request to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), I included: 

If the fee for completing my request exceeds US$5, please obtain my written approval prior to completing this request.

The CDC is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. From the HHS website:
 

So imagine my surprise when, in response to the next FOIA request I sent to the CDC - three years later on April 25, 2020 - I received a reply from one of the agency's FOIA officer that my request was denied. 

Why? 

The agency claimed I owed an outstanding processing fee of $138 for my 2017 FOIA request. 

This was the first I'd heard of it. I'd never received any letter or invoice, but after some back and forth with the FOIA officer, I learned that the fee had been assessed in a July 31, 2017 letter to me from CDC FOIA Officer Roger Andoh. 

Here's the paragraph:

By the time I received the 2020 denial letter, Mr. Andoh had been promoted to the CDC's FOIA Director. 

Shortly after receiving the denial, I placed a call to Mr. Andoh during which I politely explained that he'd probably made a clerical error and overlooked the $5 cap instruction in my 2017 request. 

He agreed to review the situation and, after we hung up, I sent him a copy of my FOIA request with this highlighted paragraph:

Since it was an open and shut case, I assumed Mr. Andoh would say "oops," cancel the wrongly-assessed fee, and process the request that was rejected because of the wrongly-assessed fee. 

Instead, here's his May 11, 2020 reply, slightly edited for clarity:

(I've reviewed your casefile) and all relevant material and regret to inform you that I am unwilling to waive the fee charged to you. The letter you received (attached) informed you of the assessed charge. You claim you didn't receive the invoice, and I take you at your word, but the letter did inform you of the fee. Additionally, you failed to dispute the fees at that time, which you clearly could have done within 90 days of the date of the letter. In accordance, with HHS FOIA regulation, if a requester has failed to pay past fees, we are required to request payment before we begin processing a new request. Therefore, I have no choice but to deny your request to waive the past fee owed.

First, note the Alice Through the Looking Glass logic. 

Mr. Andoh claims, "I take you at your word." In other words, he accepts that I didn't receive his July 31, 2017 letter with the fee notification.

But then he holds me to the terms of that letter to which he had agreed that I hadn't receive. 

More to the point, he didn't address the root of the matter: the $5 cap in my records request.

Last month I circled back to the situation and filed two investigation requests. 

One was with the FOIA Ombudsman at the Office of Government Information Services asking for a determination if the processing of my request was in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. (Coincidentally, Mr. Andoh currently serves on that group's advisory committee.) 

That office is reviewing my request. I'll publish the results as available.


My other request went to Mr. Andoh's boss, CDC Chief Operating Officer Robin Bailey Jr., in the form of an employee review. That is, I wanted to know if Mr. Andoh's handling of the matter was in compliance with CDC employee guidelines and the Freedom of Information Act.

Also from my request: 

Since Mr. Andoh mishandled a case as simple and straightforward as mine, I'm concerned that I may not be the only example. With that in mind, I'd urge you to review his caseload in recent years to determine if other FOIA requests are being improperly processed.

I courtesy copied Vesna Kurspahic who works as a liason to the CDC in the office of my congressional representative, Carolyn Bourdeaux. If I got the bum's rush, I could request a helping hand there.

Yesterday afternoon I received this email:

Subject: request for employee review
Sent: Mon, Nov 8, 2021 at 5:37 PM
From: Bailey, Robin (CDC/OCOO/OD) <spu8@cdc.gov>
To: Peter Heimlich <peter.heimlich@gmail.com>
Cc: "vesna.kurspahic@mail.house.gov" <vesna.kurspahic@mail.house.gov>

Mr. Heimlich,

After careful review, I am waiving the assessment of your 2017 FOIA request. I have made Mr. Andoh aware of my decision. Thank you for your patience.

Robin

Robin D. Bailey, Jr.
Chief Operating Officer
Office of the Chief Operating Officer|Office of the Director (OCOO/OD)
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Here's my reply:

Subject: request for employee review
From: Peter Heimlich <peter.heimlich@gmail.com>
Sent: Mon, Nov 8, 2021 at 6:09 PM
To: "Bailey, Robin (CDC/OCOO/OD)" <spu8@cdc.gov>

Robin Bailey, MA
Chief Operating Officer
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30329

Dear Mr. Bailey,

Thank you for this.

While I appreciate you waiving the wrongly-imposed fee, I requested an employee review of whether or not Mr. Andoh's handling of the matter was conducted according to FOIA and CDC employee guidelines. 

In my opinion, among other issues it needs to be determined if Mr. Andoh's mishandling of my FOIA request was an isolated case or if he has mishandled other FOIA requests.

Do you intend to conduct such a review? If not, to which departments may I file my request?

Further, since you've waived the wrongly-imposed fee, would you please instruct the CDC's FOIA department to process my April 25, 2020 records request which was refused due to the wrongly-imposed fee?

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

Sincerely,

Peter M. Heimlich
REDACTED
Peachtree Corners, GA 30096 USA
ph: (678)322-7984
e-mail: peter.heimlich@gmail.com
website: http://medfraud.info
blog: http://the-sidebar.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/medfraud_pmh
bio: http://tinyurl.com/ych7o7dr

I'll update this post with any developments. 

Click here for a pdf of all relevant correspondence and supporting documents.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Compilation of reports/documents from medical & government organizations & (mostly) mainstream media reports about the "LifeVac," a modified sink plunger marketed as a choking rescue device (Long Island, NY) [UPDATED: 11/7/21]

"Plumbers unclog pipes. If we stop and take a deep breath, and realize that's what we're dealing with, I went and found a plunger," (LifeVac developer Arthur) Lih said" (source). Based on the above photo (source), the sink plunger appears to be this $3 gadget sold by Lowes.

If I've missed any or if you have information to share, e-mail me at Peter.Heimlich@gmail.com

For information originating from Lifevac LLC (Nesconset, NY), click here for the company's home page. Click the links for the websites of LifeVac Europe (North Devon, UK), Lifevac Canada (Mississauga), LifeVac Australia (New South Wales), LifeVac Greece, LifeVac Poland (Stalowa Wola), and LifeVac South Africa (Klerksdorp).

A. MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

Executive Summary: 2020 International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science With Treatment Recommendations (ILCOR) by Nolan et al, Circulation, October 21, 2020:

Recently, manual suction devices (airway clearance devices) that use a vacuum to remove foreign bodies have become commercially available. These devices have not previously been reviewed by ILCOR and were included in this SysRev. The data in the peer-reviewed literature assessing the efficacy of suction-based airway clearance devices comprised just 1 case series of 9 adults, which the task force deemed insufficient to support the implementation of a new technology with an associated financial and training cost...The task force suggested that suction-based airway clearance devices should not be used routinely.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council (UK) March 2017 newsletter to area schools re: expert medical review by National Health Service hospital of "Anti Choking" Devices including the Lifevac:

(Guidance) has been obtained through the Councils Public Health team, in partnership with Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals (HEY), who have comprehensively reviewed the use of such devices particularly in a paediatric context.

It is recommended at this time that the device is not used until further evidence on suitability for paediatric use is published.

Does the Resuscitation Council (UK) recommend the use of airway clearance devices (ACD) in the treatment of the choking victim?, UK Resuscitation Council, January 2, 2018:

Resuscitation Council UK is aware that several airway clearing devices for the treatment of choking are now available in the UK. There is insufficient evidence on the safety or effectiveness of these devices for us to recommend their use, and we are concerned that the use of these devices could delay established treatments for choking; for this reason, Resuscitation Council UK does not support their use. 

Appropriately trained healthcare professionals can already use advanced techniques such as suction or laryngoscopy and forceps for airway foreign body removal. We recommend that new airway clearance devices should only be used by trained healthcare professionals as part of a formal evaluation. 

April 5, 2018 Swedish CPR Council report re: anti-choking devices by Henrik Wagner MD PhD, Jan Gelberg MD, Andreas Claesson RN PhD. Click here for original Swedish version; click here for English version via Google Translate.

April 25, 2019 statement by the Spanish Council of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation re: anti-choking devices. Click here for original Spanish version; click here for English version via Google Translate. 
B. GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS

January 27, 2016 letter to me from Karen Hollowood RN of the NYS Education Dept. re: the LifeVac & the agency's recommended best practices for choking rescue

August 30, 2017 determination letter from UK Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) re: LifeVac anti-choking device (via my Scribd account) 

C. MEDIA REPORTS 

LifeVac developed to stop choking by Kristin Thorne

 

Long Island inventor's 'LifeVac' anti-choking device purchased by fire department by Tom Incantalupo, Newsday, July 16, 2015

Brentwood Fire Department purchases 30 LifeVac units by Tom Incantalupo, Newsday, September 24, 2015

Lindenhurst school district purchases LifeVacs by Tom Incantalupo, Newsday, December 3, 2015 

Heimlich remover! Son of ‘maneuver’ inventor wants investigation into anti-choking device at boro schools by Allegra Hobbs, Brooklyn Paper, January 14, 2016

New potentially life saving device questioned by medical watchdog by Joe Mauceri, PIX11 TV News (NYC), January 18, 2016

Life-saving invention could prevent any more choking deaths of children in school by Kirstin Cole, PIX11 (NYC), February 25, 2016.

Sarasota Police Department using LifeVac anti-choking device by investigative reporter Kate Flexter, ABC7 Sarasota, FL, April 7, 2016 which includes this clip:



KF: The issue is the device has not technically been approved by the Food and Drug Administration because it doesn't have to be. The FDA tells ABC7 that LifeVac is registered as a "moderate risk device" which makes it exempt from the clearance and approval process. 

But some doctors we talked to said it should be tested more thoroughly and is potentially dangerous. We showed the training video for the device to the head of pediatrics at the Florida Hospital in Tampa, Dr. James Orlowski.

JO: It seems that the pressure that they use before sucking back could potentially drive the object further down into the airway.

KF: Dr. Orlowski says the pressure created by the device could potentially cause damage to other parts of the body in the process.

JO: If it can hold up a bowling ball, it can probably do a lot of damage to the airway and to other organs.

Welling woman broke down in tears when one of her medical devices saved OAP's life by Jake Bacon, London NewsShopper, June 9, 2016   

Life Vac anti-choking device designed in North Devon has just saved its first life by Laura Brainwood, North Devon Journal, June 14, 2016

Can New Devices Match Heimlich to Stop Choking? LifeVac and Dechoker pose alternative to abdominal thrusts by Laura Johannes, Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2016 (Paywalled) Phil Heimlich is my older brother -- PMH
Two new easy-to-use devices work like plungers to suck out obstructions in the airway, providing another option if standard treatment—such as abdominal thrusts developed in 1974 by Henry Heimlich—fail to clear the airway, say the companies who sell them.

...Both the Dechoker, $89.95, and the LifeVac, $69.95, have a plastic mask that provides a seal over the mouth and nose while suction is provided. The Dechoker looks like a large syringe, while the LifeVac’s plunger is shaped like a small accordion.
...Skeptics include Dr. Heimlich, now 96. Such a device may not be handy in the “unexpected instance that a person chokes,” Dr. Heimlich, a retired thoracic surgeon from Cincinnati, says in a statement released by his son, Phil Heimlich. “Any action that delays use of the Heimlich maneuver or complicates the rescue can be deadly.”
Kudos to WSJ for giving thorough look at ‘Heimlich alternative’ devices for choking victims by Susan Wei PhD, Dan Mayer MD & Joya Victory, Health News Review, July 18, 2016

LifeVac signs international distribution deal by Ken Schachter, Newsday, August 3, 2016

Anti-choking devices give piece of mind but don't replace Heimlich Maneuver by Liz Harrison, ABC30 News (Fresno, CA), September 27, 2016

A ‘last resort’ when life is on the line by Claude Solnik, Long Island Business News, December 15, 2016

LifeVac anti-choking device’s inventor faces fragmented market by David Reich-Hale, Newsday, December 18, 2016

Rutherford Local Becomes Spokesperson For Life-Saving Device by Arthur Augustyn, Daily Voice (Rutherford, NJ), January 31, 2017

Anti-choking LifeVac kits offered to East Riding schools by Hull Wyke Round Table by Elizabeth Mackley, Hull Daily Mail, February 10, 2017

Hull Wyke Round Table announcement letter cancelling the project and offering refunds to crowdfund donors, May 15, 2017.
 
Two Men Say Anti-Choking Device Could Have Saved a Boy's Life by Bryant Clerkley, WKRG-TV (Pensacola, FL), September 28, 2017:




LifeVac Donates More than 30 Units to Jackson County School by Ashton Williams, WMBB-TV News (Panama City, FL), October 26, 2017

Mother Of Audi Anderson Says Lifevac Could Have Saved His Life by Bryant Clerkley, WKRG-TV News, November 2, 2017



Heartbroken dad whose daughter, 6, choked to death on grape says this simple device could have saved her life by Tom Belger, The Mirror, November 7, 2017

Grieving parents in plea to medical chiefs by Alex Jones, Cambrian News (Wales), November 8, 2017


The anti-choking device that parents are now turning to by Dr. Sam Hay, Kidspot (Australia), March 20, 2018:
(That’s) where the LifeVac comes in - a hand held device that works like a fancy drain plunger.

...(The) device is capable of producing a degree of suction that far exceeds those achievable by any first aid technique.

It makes sense. Plus, the good news is, it works.

...Look, it’s not foolproof, and it’s not without some (small) potential for injury in toddlers and babies. But faced with the devastating alternatives, I’d encourage parents to consider having one handy, and definitely giving it a go after first aid techniques have failed and the ambulance is on its way.
Johnson Orthodontics donates lifesaving devices to local schools, Cape Gazette, Cape Henlopen, DE, March 25, 2018

Claim of Smear on Choke Device by Anthony Klan, The Australian, April 4, 2018

A Heimlich alternative? Wisconsin medical experts say anti-choking device needs more testing by Bryan Polcyn, FOX6 News (Milwaukee, WI), July 5, 2018: 
Not long after their son's death, the Bruegmann's learned about LifeVac.
..."If I would've just had one of these, maybe (my son) would be here," Courtney Bruegmann said.

The Bruegmann's found the $70 device on Amazon...
..."I'm not letting these kids keep dying," said Arthur Lih, the founder of  LifeVac. 
Lih says his device is a matter of simple physics.
"Plumbers unclog pipes. If we stop and take a deep breath, and realize that's what we're dealing with, I went and found a plunger," Lih said.
...LifeVac claims to have mountains of evidence that the device works, including articles published by the International Journal of Clinical Skills, the American Journal of Gastroenterology, and the American College of  Emergency Physicians.
But at least two of those articles were authored by a doctor who is also Lih's sister...
Parents turn loss into a mission to save others by Erin Martin, Fennimore Times (Fennimore, WI), August 21, 2018

Choking victim Sherry Campbell’s legacy will be lifesaving device in every Northern Ireland school by Victoria Leonard, Belfast Telegraph, September 17, 2018

Fennimore parents turn loss into life-saving mission by Leah Linscheid, WISC-TV (Maidson, WI), November 5, 2018

UK takes cautious approach to Irish anti-choking device by Colin Coyle, The Sunday Times (Ireland), November 19, 2018

‘Seems fair to recommend:’ State EMS doc approves anti-choking device as backup option by Bryan Polcyn, FOX6 News, December 19, 2018

Idaho Falls woman advocates for putting "Life Vac" anti-choking devices in local schools by Rachel Cox-Rosen, KPVI-TV (Idado Falls, ID), February 19, 2019

Advocates say anti-choking device saved two lives in Idaho by Brennan Kaufman, The Post Register (Idaho Falls, ID), January 8, 2019

After son's choking death, Fennimore family hopes to prevent further tragedy by Bennet Goldstein, Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA), February 16, 2019:

Accompanying video interview conducted by Telegraph Herald reporter Bennet Goldstein (who apparently did not interview the family doctor):
Courtney Bruegmann: After we lost our 9-month-old son in a choking incident, we had actually went to our family doctor and kind of spoke with her, like, y'know, is there anything out there that can try to, y'know, prevent this from happening or help in a situation? And she did some research online and came across the LifeVac.
This family lost their baby to a choking accident. They want the state to help save other lives; Bruegmanns push for safety grant for schools by Leah Linscheid, WISC-TV, April 30, 2019:
Matt and Courtney Bruegmann lost their baby boy, Camynn, when he choked on a bouncy ball two years ago. In the years since, they’ve poured their time and souls into researching the LifeVac...

Since Camynn’s death, more than a dozen law enforcement agencies have purchased their own. The Bruegmanns bought several themselves for the Lancaster School District, where Courtney grew up.

They presented the donations to the superintendent Tuesday.

...Rep. Travis Tranel (R-Cuba City) was on hand for the donation. He’s teaming up with Sen. Howard Marklein (R- Spring Green) to put together a grant program to help more school districts buy LifeVacs.
Entrepreneur invents life-saving device, FOX & Friends, FOX News, May 5, 2019




Anti-choking devices: a lot of servile "journalism" and no clinical trials (Spanish) by Esther Samper, Hipertextual, May 26, 2019; click here for English version via Google Translate

What is LifeVac and why has it "insulted" Spanish doctors? (Spanish) by Nuria Fdez Gámez & Laura Díez, Redaccion Medica (Sanitarias), June 1, 2019; click here for English version via Google Translate

Sometimes You Have To Do The Impossible Just To Prove Nothing Is -- Entrepreneur Arthur Lih invented a product that is saving lives by Lexi Dansker, Neirad, Darien (CT) High School, June 3, 2019

Choking baby saved by device brought into Northern Ireland after death of Sherry Campbell; One-year-old Killian was choking on a piece of carrot when his mum used the LifeVac and saved him by Jilly Beattie, Belfast Live, June 10, 2019

LifeVac saves 1-year-old boy from Lafayette by staff reporter Randall Newsome, WISH-TV News, Indianapolis, IN, June 13, 2019 includes interviews with the infant's mother, Morgan Hendrick-Luse (per comment below posted on Youtube aka Morgan Hendricks Luce-Araya) of Lafayette, IN; her mother, Toni Hendricks of Oakwook, IL; and LifeVac creator Arthur Lih of Massapequa, NY.






School presented with anti-choking devices by Dylan Davies, deputy news editor, Cambrian News, Ceredigion, Wales, June 21, 2019; also see my August 17, 2016 blog item, Since January, a choking death and three near-fatal choking incidents apparently occurred at a small nursing home in Wales -- company executives aren't answering my questions, so I've asked oversight agencies to investigate.

(LifeVac) Anti-Choking Device Is Saving Lives by UCLA Professor of Medicine Nina L. Shapiro MDes.com, June 23, 2019
But sometimes, despite best efforts, these (anti-choking) maneuvers don't work. Now there are other options available, especially while waiting for emergency first responders. A lucky mom in Northern California is all too familiar with this. Crystal, who requested her last name not be used,* is a mom of an 11-month-old and two older children. When her oldest was a toddler, she had a choking incident. Thankfully, all turned out fine, but ever since then, Crystal has been acutely aware of potential choking risks. When she was pregnant with her youngest, she was shopping around for safety items and came across a LifeVac, a non-powered handheld suction device to remove foreign objects from the airway of a choking victim.

...Suddenly she heard a strange gurgling noise from that room, and her worst fear had come true. "She was choking. I ran over to her, and I thought I saw something sharp in her throat, and since I saw it, I tried to grab it." But then the baby gasped and the object was gone-- out of view, and now completely blocking the airway. "I tried back blows, but it was stuck." Her older daughter called 911 right away. Crystal kept trying back blows, abdominal thrusts, but "her lips were turning blue. Nothing was working." She then remembered that the device she dug out from her closet for the family trip was still in her suitcase. She ran to grab it, and used it on her baby. It took two tries, then "out popped a plastic piece [from a thick plastic bag clasp]." The baby's lips turned pink, she started to cry, and soon after, was puzzled why her mother looked so distressed. The paramedics arrived, checked the baby, and deemed she was well-- her breathing was normal, her lungs were clear

When it comes to safety, you really never can be too sure. As Crystal has told countless friends and family, both before this event, and more so subsequently, "Don't think it won't happen to you. You just never know."
* Testimonial letter apparently signed by Crystal Houston of Pittsburg, California describing a May 30, 2019 choking incident, the rescue of her 10-month-old daughter, Amarianna Robinson, using the LifeVac and the response by paramedics (via a June 22, 2019 Facebook post by LifeVac Australia)




Fennimore (WI) family advocates for state grants to install choking rescue devices in schools by Bennet Goldstein, Dubuque, IA Telegraph Herald, June 25, 2019
A Fennimore family is urging state lawmakers to back a legislative proposal that would allocate funding for the acquisition of choking-rescue devices for schools.

...The bill would allocate up to $500,000 to provide grants to public, private and tribal elementary and secondary schools for the purchase of the devices.

The proposal was introduced by Wisconsin Rep. Travis Tranel, R-Cuba City, and Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, at the urging of the Bruegmanns.

“This seems like a simple device that wouldn’t be difficult to put into schools,” Tranel said.

...The Bruegmanns believe the boy’s death could have been prevented had they and emergency service workers had more tools at their disposal, such as a rescue device known as the LifeVac.

...In addition to donating several LifeVac units to area schools and the Fennimore Volunteer Rescue Squad, the Bruegmanns are advocating for the placement of choking-rescue devices in each of Wisconsin’s more than 2,000 schools.


Family pushes for anti-choking devices in schools after tragedy by Anthony DaBruzzi, SpectrumNews1 (Madison, WI) July 8, 2019:
Looking to spare others from their painful experience, the couple researched anti-choking devices...
The simple Devon invention that saved the life of 11-month-old girl and dozens of others by Joel Cooper, DevonLive, July 11, 2019:
An invention developed by a family run business in Devon has saved the lives of 31 people, including an 11-month-old baby girl.

Amarannia had been playing in her living room when she picked up a piece of plastic and put it in her mouth.

Her mother suddenly heard a strange gurgling noise from the living room and her worst fears were confirmed when she came in to find Amarannia choking.

But luckily she had access to a LifeVac, a piece of equipment that was developed in a North Devon village and is now use across the world.

...Another example of the LifeVac being there when it mattered was the case of one-year-old Killian who started choking while eating some carrots.

Killian started to turn red and then purple due to lack of oxygen and back blows, due to his age, were unsuccessful.

LifeVac was then used by his mother Morgan with the pediatric mask which dislodged the carrot on the first application.

Killian was taken to hospital due to the ordeal so that he could have an examination. He was checked over by a doctor and returned home with no adverse effects from the choking ordeal.

Amarannia and Killian are just two of 31 people whose lives have been saved by the LifeVac device.

The product was the idea of American Arthur Lih, who co-developed it with Eric Banagan, who lives in Combe Martin.
Kids' lemonade stand raises money for life-saving device by Briella Tomassetti, FOX5 NYC, July 15, 2019:
So far, about 30 schools on Long Island have added the Life Vac to their safety kits.

The life-saving tool has been placed in more than 200 schools across the nation.



Woman donates choking aids by staff reporter Melissa Klaric, The Herald (Sharon, PA), August 18, 2019 (emphasis added):
(Jamie Mattocks) donated five LifeVac Choking Aids to the Mercer (PA) Police Department and the borough. The devices cost $70 each.

...The Mercer resident also donated 10 aids to the Mercer East End Fire Department.

(Mattocks) was contacted by the inventor of the LifeVac Choking Aid, Arthur Lih, of Massapequa, N.Y..

...Mattocks also donated a LifeVac Choking Aid to Mercer Elementary.

“My goal is to get the LifeVac into all the schools in the county,” Mattocks said.

She is also going to reach out to the ambulance companies, who do not carry the devices.
Sarasota County School District gets 150 new devices that could help a choking child by Taylor Torregano, WWSB-TV (Sarasota, FL), December 4, 2019:
The Sarasota County School District just received a donation of 150 LifeVacs - an apparatus used to help save someone who is choking.

The district is calling it another tool in their toolbox to address a nationwide issue.

...“We were approached by a parent at one of our elementary schools whose daughter had a choking incident and she wondered if we were familiar with the device and if we would be interested in obtaining them for the schools," said Suzanne Dubose, supervisor of health services for the Sarasota County School District.

LifeVac took it one step further, offering to donate 150 devices, which were just received about a week ago.

Dubose said before they start using them, they’ll meet in a couple of weeks to train with the nurses and student resource officers, but even then, the Heimlich maneuver will still be their first response.

“If student or staff becomes non-responsive, our response at that point is compression, CPR, per protocol and it’s evidence based," Dubose explained. "The LifeVac, if it’s brought into a situation, can absolutely be used because again, another tool in the tool box.”

The LifeVac is a portable suction device used to clear an upper airway obstruction. It has faced criticism in the past from doctors who said there isn’t enough research on if it could do more harm than good.
150 anti-choking devices donated to Sarasota schools by Kimberly Kuizon, FOX13 News (Tampa, FL), December 17, 2019:




The controversial 'trachea unblockers' that are already in schools and residences by Maria Zuil, El Confidencial (Madrid, Spain), December 16, 2019

CISD receives choking preventable devices as donation by Ashley Rose, Cleburne (TX) Times-Review, December 18, 2019
Students at Cleburne (Independent School District) are now protected against choking.

The CISD board of trustees received a donation of LifeVAc kits from Pinnacle Bank during Monday night’s meeting.

CISD Lead Nurse Christi Gregory said each campus will now have a life saving kit, which includes three LifeVacs and a practice device to keep students from choking.

Pinnacle Regional President Tim Whitlock, Branch President Amber Witte and the founder/CEO of LifeVac, Arthur Lih, were present at the meeting to give the donation.

“What Mr. Whitlock has done is he challenged all Pinnacle Banks in Texas to purchase these LifeVac machines or devices for their school districts,” Gregory said. “He has made that challenge so maybe other community people will do that and all Texas schools will have this life saving device.”
East Quogue (NY) Wife, Mother Raises Funds To Buy Anti-Choking Devices In Husband’s Memory by Kitty Merrill, February 11, 2020, Southampton (NY), 27East (Southampton Press):
(The) Musso family is working to raise money to make sure that every ambulance company, school, day care center and police car in the region has a life-saving device known as a LifeVac.

...Ms. Musso created a GoFundMe page in memory of her husband of 30-plus years and is using the money to purchase the airway clearance devices, then donating them to schools from William Floyd - - which serves the contiguous communities of Shirley, Mastic, Mastic Beach, and Moriches -- to the Montauk School.

...Schools in Montauk, Southampton, Tuckahoe, East Quogue, East Hampton and Hampton Bays have already received them, she said.

...“We are grateful to Laura and her son, Dylan, for their donation of three LifeVac systems for our cafeteria,” Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen said. “Out of a crisis comes an opportunity. And the service that Laura and Dylan are giving to the region as a result of their own experiences will help make us all safer in our schools.”

Ms. Musso also wants to make sure area fire departments and police departments have the devices.

She recently spoke to Southampton Town Police Chief Steven Skrynecki, whom she said was “absolutely wonderful.”

...“The Southampton Town Police Department applauds Laura Musso’s efforts to see that all first responders are trained and equipped to clear an obstructed airway as quickly as possible,” Chief Skrynecki said on Friday...We are researching the product and anticipate incorporating it into the first aid equipment available to our officers in the field.”
*****
The Jennifer Glenn case (College Station, TX) & reporter Jeff Prince's "disappeared" Fort Worth Weekly story


Via now-deleted v.1 dated February 19, 2020 via The Wayback Machine: Suction Friction; An anti-choking device comes to North Texas schools despite questions by Jeff Prince, Fort Worth Weekly. Original URL https://www.fwweekly.com/2020/02/19/suction-friction now leads to a 404 page (information deleted from re-published February 22 version is in bold):
Last summer, Quade Glenn was sucking on a Lemonhead hard candy when it lodged in his throat. His face turned red. He couldn’t breathe. His mother, Jennifer Glenn, was in another room but heard her daughter asking Quade if he was OK. The mother of three kids knew what to do. Her father taught CPR for years as a firefighter in Kennedale, and Jennifer was trained long ago.
This time, however, back blows and abdominal thrusts didn’t work on 5-year-old Quade. A desperate Jennifer tried Plan C –– a LifeVac device.
Jennifer had purchased the LifeVac more than a year earlier but had never used it.
...Last week, Jennifer, husband Blake Glenn, and their children invited me into their home and explained how everything went down that day.
...Around that time, Jennifer received a call from someone she knew at the Cleburne Times-Review telling her that “some weird guy” had contacted the paper to say LifeVac might have paid Jennifer to make her claims.

The man’s name was Peter Heimlich.

...In January, I began corresponding with Peter Heimlich after an article in the Cleburne Times-Review described how Pinnacle donated the LifeVacs (to area schools).
Via re-published, re-written v.2 dated February 22, 2020 which fails to inform readers of the alterations, Suction Friction; An anti-choking device comes to North Texas schools despite questions by Jeff Prince, Fort Worth Weekly, February 22, 2020:
Last summer, Quade was sucking on a Lemonhead hard candy when it lodged in his throat. His face turned red. He couldn’t breathe. His mother, Jennifer, was in another room but heard her daughter asking Quade if he was OK.

...Jennifer - who asked that the family’s last name be withheld for security reasons...[See videos and graphics below in which Ms. Glenn and LifeVac freely use her and her son's complete name.]

...Last week, Jennifer, her husband, and their children invited me into their home and explained how everything went down that day.

...She wanted to share the incident on Facebook, but her husband was apprehensive. He isn’t a fan of social media.
“He didn’t understand why I felt the need to share it,” Jennifer said. “I’m like, ‘Babe, if our story could help somebody else in that same situation, when they can’t get [stuck food] out, I would feel so good about that.’ As a mom, I want to know what’s good –– the best car seat, whatever.”
He agreed. The post went up. Jennifer couldn’t believe the response.
“It kind of went viral,” she said. “It went crazy.”
Her Facebook page is private, and friends asked if they could share the post on their public pages. Jennifer agreed after removing Quade’s photo. [See videos and graphics below in which Ms. Glenn and LifeVac LLC display Quade's photo]
 Around that time, Jennifer received a call from someone she knew at a local paper.
...In January, I began corresponding with Peter Heimlich after an article in a Cleburne paper described how Pinnacle donated the LifeVacs.
December 20, 2019 video/audio interview with Jennifer Glenn (using her full name) of College Station, TX, about her son Quade's July 2019 choking incident with Tonya Johnson, JoCo Community Radio, "The Voice of Johnson County, TX." In the 25-minute segment, Ms. Glenn (a self-described "lifestyle photographer") discusses choking rescue protocols, the LifeVac, and LifeVac developer Arthur Lih's visit with her family that week.


(5:45) Ms. Glenn says she first learned about the LifeVac while doing research to show "Blake, my husband. And a LifeVac ad popped up...I'm a researcher. I research everything before I buy anything."
(6:45) After describing how she purchased a LifeVac on Amazon, "When babysitters would come over, I'd be like, "Oh, here's the LifeVac. Here are instrictions. If you need to use it, this is here if they choke on something and you can't get it out."
(9:00) After describing the choking incident (in which she says, "Everything came up"), Ms. Glenn says "All (her) kids witnessed it...Ever since then my mission has been to tell parents about LifeVac"
(10:20) Glenn: "(LifeVac) sent me a brand new unit since (Quade) had -- I know this is pretty gross for radio -- he had thrown up everything inside there. That shouldn't have happened, but."
(13:20) "It just happened at the end of July...I know my son Quade's story has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and it's because I took to Facebook the day it happened...I wanted to tell everyone about it."
(14:50 ) "I really think (purchasing the LifeVac) was a God thing. I really do. Because I went back and forth on buying it..Do I really need to spend $70-something dollars on this?...Then I thought about it. I'm like, You know, even if it sit sits there and collects dust, it's the security of knowing that I have it. I can take it with me. And I do. I have a travel unit now in my car."
(17:00) "I'd recommend everybody to go to (LifeVac's) website)...You can read all the peer-reviewed journals. That's important to me...You can watch the cadaver videos. They did a lot of cadaver testing because, you know, when you think about something like this it's an emergency situation, you cannot, like, re-enact that. It's unethical, too."

(18:00) After providing directions how viewers/listeners may purchase a LifeVac, Ms. Glenn says, "I definitely think that needs to be a stocking stuffer"

(18:30) "(This week LifeVac representatives flew here and) got to meet Quade."
(19:45) "Everybody needs (a LifeVac), definitely...anybody in nursing home care, their day cares...(Pinnacle Bank's) mission now is to try to get these in all school districts with Pinnacle Banks. They're going to try to fund them so that every school can have them."
(21:30) "We are just spreading through Johnson County (schools) and beyond...(LifeVacs) should be like epi pens, it should be like defibrillators, they should be there...Of course, all of our friends have bought them. We've given them to our grandparents who watch our children. We've gifted them to chuch. So you've got to think about all the places where your kids spend time." 
Via v.2 of the Fort Worth Weekly article by Jeff Prince, "In October (2019, (Jennifer Glenn) appeared on what might be described as an infomercial alongside LifeVac inventor Arthur Lih on a news channel broadcast in New York." Here are two of those paid videos produced by WPIX-TV:




(1:00 ) Jennifer Glenn: "The first time I put (the LifeVac on my son Quade), he pushed it away. I think it scared him, the suction. But the second time I got in and got it out, he sat up and threw up everything, including the candy and the chips and everything he'd eaten that day. [Emphasis added.]
source source
  *****

Mercer (PA) American Legion donates LifeVacs to local schools, first responders; The Mercer American Legion Riders bought 27 Life Vac anti-choking devices they plan to donate to local schools along with police and other first responders by Matt Stone, WFMJ-TV (Youngstown, OH NBC affiliate), February 26, 2020:
The Life Vac was invented by Arthur Lih 9 years ago. He says it's helped save at least 54 people. He says the Vac is best used when the Heimlich doesn't work or when someone is in a wheelchair. Lih says the device is FDA registered.

"You go through the same scrutiny but you are registered not approved. You can't approve everything."
American Legion Riders donate LifeVac choking prevention devices by Melissa Klaric, Sharon (PA) Herald, February 27, 2020: 
With Harlowe Mattocks leading the effort, the (American Legion) Riders raised $1,200 to purchase 27 LifeVacs. The group donated them Wednesday to the Creative Learning Christian School, Jefferson Township police and fire departments, Lakeview School District, Mercer Area School District, Mercer County Career Center, Children’s Aid Society, Sunshine Preschool, Mercer Methodist Church and Mercer American Legion.
...Hendley Hoge, superintendent of Lakeview schools, attended the luncheon to accept Lakeview’s LifeVac.

“Going back to school today, I’ll feel more comfortable and at ease now that we have these,” said Hoge, a former Mercer superintendent. “So thank you for this.”
Poquoson (VA) nonprofit raises funds to buy devices for officers to save choking victims by Kofo Lasaki, WTKR-TV News (Hampton Roads, VA), September 10, 2020
 
Inventor of choking aid device credited with saving more than 70 lives by Kristin Thorne, ABC7 New York City, October 5, 2020

 

LifeVac CEO Arthur Lih invents device to stop choking: ‘I had to do something’ by Roman Chiarello, FOX News Health, December 23, 2020. Includes this same-day FOX & Friends video interview with on-air personality Brian Kilmeade: 

Arthur Lih Interview with Curtis Sliwa, WABC Radio (NYC), January 28, 2021:


Call for LifeVac device in child settings for choking emergencies by Nathan Louis, Watford (UK) Observer, February 26, 2021:

More than a thousand people have signed a petition calling for a medical device to be made readily available in a choking emergency.

Craig Grant set up the petition shortly after the tragic death of two-year-old Sadie Salt, who passed away in hospital in November after choking on a sausage at her nursery in Radlett.

The petition is being supported by Sadie’s family, and Mr Grant believes Sadie’s death was "potentially preventable" if her nursery had a device called a LifeVac.



Interview with LifeVac LLC sales & marketing vice president Heidi Beth Felix, The Rich Valdez Show, 77 WABC radio (NYC), March 15, 2021


LifeVac Changes the Game (interview with Arthur Lih), 77 WABC radio (NYC), Bernie & Sid, March 26, 2021

Life Vac [sic]: A Device that could help save a life by Jordan Segundo, Good Day Sacramento, KOVR-TV, March 28, 2021


Save A Child From Choking with LifeVac by Debbie McFadden, KWQC-TV, Davenport, IA, March 31, 2021

St. Luke’s Children’s warns of reliance on anti-choking devices by KMVT-TV News (Twin Falls) by Jack Schemmel, May 15, 2021
10-month-old saved from choking inside Irmo restaurant by Josh Berry, ABC Columbia (SC), September 20, 2021


Stranger steps in to save baby choking in Irmo restaurant by Bristow Marchant, The State (Columbia, SC), September 26, 2021


Steve Perry, owner of the Eggs Up Grill in Irmo [SC], Jayne Koehler, Gabriel Koehler, 10 months, Jon Koehler and Major Hillard at the EggsUp Grill where Hillard [allegedly] saved Gabriel's life on Thursday. Hillard does not have a medical background, but has experience with saving his own children from choking. (Photo by Joshua Boucher, jboucher@thestate.com)

The device doesn't require FDA approval, but Dr. David Ford, an emergency medicine director at Prisma Health, has followed scientific studies of such anti -choking devices. While LifeVac has been successful in studies done on cadavers, researchers have been limited in what they can do since they can't ethically "put something down someone's threat and then try to get it out."

NOTE: Only the following two studies have tested the LifeVac on a single cadaver each; the first study reported positive results, the second study reported negative results.  

1) Assessment of the LifeVac, an anti-choking device, on a human cadaver with complete airway obstruction, published in the correspondence section of the March 23, 2016 issue of the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, and authored by:

Mimi Juliano, MA, CCC-SLP, Visiting Nurse Services and Hospice of Suffolk, Northport, NY Corresponding author E-mail address: rnbmimi@aol.com

Robert Domingo, PHD Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders LIU Post, Nassau
University Medical Center, Farmingdale, NY

Mary S. Mooney, PT, DPT, Visiting Nurse Services & Hospice of Suffolk, Northport, NY

Alex Trupiano, E.M.T., Nassau County Police Department Emergency Ambulance Bureau, Nassau
County, NY

We performed an independent study to determine whether the anti-choking device, LifeVac, is capable of removing a food bolus from an obstructed airway when the potential for choking as a medical emergency exists...

This study was conducted at Fusion Solutions, a cadaver based training center in (Hicksville) New York. An unselected, recently diseased individual was employed in the study. The subject was a 71 year old, Caucasian female, 153 pounds, 65 inches with a Body Mass Index of 25. The paramedic technician [Trupiano] placed an adult LifeVac mask on the cadaver following operating guidelines to remove the lodged bolus. The author observed and recorded the success rate. It was noted on one trial that a second pull was required to ensure a tighter seal following an initial failed trial. This achieved increased suction and ensured removal of the simulated bolus. The LifeVac removed the bolus successfully 49/50 trials on the first trial...

The LifeVac is non invasive and can be used by anyone, both medical personnel and laypersons alike. Results of this study suggest that the LifeVac can be included as part of the guidelines used for basic life support management of choking victims.

2) The Efficacy Of Two Commercially Available Devices To Relieve Acute Foreign Body Aspiration by Apoorva T. Ramaswamy, Aaron Done, Roberto Solis, Lisa Evangelista, Peter Belafsky (University of California Davis, CA), abstract presented at the April 2021 meeting of the American  Bronchoesophagological Association.

Objective: Evaluate the efficacy of two commercially available choking relief devices, the LifeVac (LifeVac LLC, Nesconset, NY) and the Dechoker (Dechoker LLC, Wheat Ridge, CO). 

Methods: A fresh cadaver (5’10’’, Caucasian male) was utilized for all trials. Whole grapes (Columbine Vineyards red seedless), cashews (Aurora Organic) and barium-impregnated crackers (Premium Saltines) were placed at the level of the true vocal folds under visualization with a flexible endoscope (Olympus, Center Valley, PA). The choking relief devices were then used to manufacturer specifications by a PGY2 otolaryngology resident, a board eligible otolaryngologist and a novice volunteer. Each participant conducted two trials with each device and food. Extent of foreign body extrication was evaluated by flexible endoscopy and videofluoroscopy (GE Healthcare, Milwaukee, WI). 

Results: Both the LifeVac and Dechoker failed to remove the cashews and grapes from the airway in all trials. The barium moistened cracker was moved from C2 at the level of the glottis to C1 at the level of the oropharynx. Use of the Dechoker resulted in gross injury to the tongue, and both products exerted significant pressure on the tongue and soft palate that might cause edema in the clinical setting. 

Conclusion: Although the devices did make appreciable progress in dislodgement of moistened saltines, they were not effective in removing solid food material from the glottis and may result in injury. The results suggest these products should not replace the Heimlich maneuver as the treatment of choice for choking. 


Ride for Life to raise awareness of choking hazards by Mike Crowley, Meadville Tribune, Oct 8, 2021:

Firefighters from Meadville Central Fire Department will be among the emergency personnel answering first aid questions and greeting visitors at the event, but the company will not be among the organizations receiving the choking rescue devices, according to Chief Patrick Wiley.

Even if they did receive one, they wouldn’t be able to carry it with them in responding to emergencies, Wiley said this week.

“They’re not approved by the state of Pennsylvania to run them on our rigs — every piece of equipment we have has to be OK’d by the state first,” said Wiley, who had taken a look at one of the devices given to a parochial school recently. “We’re talking with our medical director and he’s interested in approaching the state to see if they’re willing to do some testing with this to see if it’s something that can be approved, but at this point it’s not.”

In responding to choking incidents, Wiley said, Meadville firefighters follow the standard protocols taught in CPR classes.

How to save a life: Event honors two choking victims, educates community by Monica Pryts, Allied News (Grove City, PA), October 12, 2021

Kolson's Krew Advocating Through LifeVac Donations by Alaina Jonathan, Erie (PA) News Now, October 22nd 2021

A toddler began choking on I-95 in Miami. Then a Good Samaritan, trooper came to the rescue by Michelle Marchante and Carli Teproff, Miami Herald, October 25, 2021, UPDATED AT 9:27 PM