Sunday, December 30, 2012

Two prominent physician/authors -- one a NY Times bestseller -- promoted their books on white supremacist David Duke's radio show

1/7/13 update: Matt Hrodey at Milwaukee magazine picked up my story below, moved it forward, and gave me a hat tip via Duke the Deceiver?

William Davis MD (source)

Milwaukee cardiologist William Davis MD is the author of this New York Times bestseller published by Rodale Books:


Dr. Davis's book has received considerable attention. For example, recently he appeared as a featured guest on The Dr. Mehmet Oz Show.

Here's an hour-long interview Dr. Davis did earlier this year on another program, The David Duke Show, an Internet radio program. Note the other show topics:

Yes, that David Duke.



So who knew Duke was interested in nutrition science? (Insert "master race" jokes here.)

Also, Dr. Duke?


Not exactly Harvard.

Dr. Davis isn't the only physician who's done the Duke show.

The "world-renowned expert" who did two hour-long interviews with "Dr." Duke is Doug McGuff MD, an emergency medicine physician from Seneca, South Carolina, and the author of this book published by McGraw-Hill:

Doug McGuff MD (source)

Who arranged these interviews?

In an attempt to answer that and other questions, I've submitted inquiries to Rodale Books and McGraw-Hill. I'll report the results in a future Sidebar item.

Post on Stormfront "white pride" website (source)

This item has been slightly revised.

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).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

University of Cincinnati newspaper reports "Heimlich maneuver for asthma" study conducted on children in Barbados -- and my unanswered questions

The University of Cincinnati News Record just published Questionable Study has UC Ties by reporter Benjamin Goldschmidt. 

Here's the takeaway:
On Nov. 19, the University of Cincinnati received one of five inquiry letters sent to organizations that could be linked to an offshore, potentially controversial experiment.

Peter Heimlich, son of Henry Heimlich - famous for the Heimlich Maneuver choking rescue treatment - sent the inquiry letters in hopes of obtaining more information on the experiment, which was performed on children in Barbados, according to a study published in the West Indian Medical Journal in 2005.

...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.
Charles H. Pierce, MSc, MD, PhD, FCP, CPI
UC received one of the inquiry letters because Charles Pierce, adjunct professor of psychiatry at UC, was involved with applying for loans (sic) for the study....

  Barbados Minister of Health Donville Inniss, MP
Other organizations and individuals also received the letters, including Rotary International, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Donville Inniss, the minister of health in Barbados.
Records show that the study was funded by the Rotary Club of Cincinnati and the Heimlich Institute. (More about that in a future item.)

Dr. Anne St. John and HRH Prince Harry (January 2010)
...Pierce and Anne St. John, a doctor in Barbados who was involved in the study, claim (an Institutional Review Board) approved the project.
...“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's) Ethics Committee approved the study,” Peter Heimlich said. “I haven't received any answers.”
More from the News Record:
(Dr. Pierce) said the modified version of the Heimlich Maneuver is harmless, and is meant to empty the lungs and give relief to an asthma patient and could prevent further asthma attacks.
Presumably Dr. St. John, the study's lead investigator, can clarify what sort of "modified version of the Heimlich maneuver" was performed on the child test subjects.

But here's what medical experts have said about the version of the treatment that my father has been hyping since at least 1996. (Click here for a Heimlich Institute press release.)

Loren Greenway, PhD
From a 2005 newsweekly article by Utah reporter Shane Johnson.

Loren Greenway, administrative director of respiratory and pulmonary medicine for Intermountain Health Care (Salt Lake City), and a nationally certified asthma educator, finds Heimlich's asthma maneuver physiologically unfounded and dangerous.

"Using the Heimlich maneuver in an acute asthmatic condition...could actually kill somebody," said Greenway.

And in this clip from a November 17, 2006 ABC7 Chicago I-Team report by Chuck Goudie:

 The Heimlich maneuver will stop an asthma attack," (says Dr. Henry) Heimlich.
Heimlich also urges the maneuver be used on cystic fibrosis victims, all claims that have stunned the medical community and major medical organizations, which warn that the use of the Heimlich maneuver in those situations could be fatal.

The American Lung Association asked Chicago respiratory expert Dr. John Shannon to speak with us.

"It shouldn't be used at all in asthma or in cystic fibrosis or any other chronic inflamation disorder in the lung passages," said Dr. John Shannon, Stroger Cook County Hospital.
"There is a good possibility of making a person with asthma substantially worse."
To my knowledge, the only article about the treatment published in a medical magazine is Some Experts Are Skeptical About Reports That the Heimlich Maneuver Relieves Acute Asthma Attacks by Carolyn Gard from the February 1997 issue of Modern Medicine.

Click here to read the article, but regarding the Barbados study, this quote raises some reasonable questions:
(Asthma specialist Homer Boushey, MD says that he is) skeptical of studies that have not undergone peer review. Furthermore, he adds, the technique should first be tested on animals rather than humans.
Did the Barbados study undergo peer review? If so, by whom?

Has the "modified Heimlich for asthma" ever been tested on animals?

And has it ever been tested on adult subjects or just on the children in Barbados?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NBC Terre Haute airs scorching reports on IL Eavesdropping Act, Annabel Melongo case; Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez refuses to be interviewed

Patrick Fazio (source)
This week, NBC2 in Terre Haute, Indiana, broadcast a strong two-part story by investigative reporter Patrick Fazio about the Illinois Eavesdropping Act and the Annabel Melongo case, arguably the most extreme application of the controversial statute.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez -- whose office's six-year prosecution of Melongo resulted in a July article by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press -- refused to be interviewed.

Click here to view Part I on NBC2's website.
As NBC 2 has investigated for the past year and a half, citizens have faced felony charges for recording audio of law enforcement.

Now we've found an Illinois woman who's actually spent time behind bars because of the state's eavesdropping law.

Annabel Melongo was arrested and jailed for more than a year and a half for recording her conversations with an on-duty law enforcement official.

For the first time ever, Melongo is talking about being locked up for recording possible government corruption.
The first segment also reported that the eavesdropping case grew out of previous charges filed against Melongo in 2006 for allegedly destroying computer files of the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF).

A politically-connected Chicago nonprofit that reportedly obtained almost $9 million in federal and state funds, SALF has since been the subject of dozens of media exposes and has been under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General since 2010.    

Click here to view Part II of Fazio's report which tags Anita Alvarez for selective enforcement of Illinois law.

The high-profile Cook County State's Attorney is apparently camera-shy about the Melongo case. She refused to be interviewed. 

Here are the two segments stitched together:

To date, no Chicago mainstream media outlet has reported about the Melongo case.

According to Mapquest, Terre Haute's about 200 miles south of the Second City.

Lucky for those interested in her case, Patrick Fazio and his NBC2 crew were willing to make the drive.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Was country music star Luke Bryan lyin' about being rescued from choking? Not even his mother will back up the story

Luke Bryan performs "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" at Country Music Association Awards show, Nashville, 11/1/12 (source)

About six weeks ago, I reported about this claim made by popular Nashville singer Luke Bryan in an interview published in the October issue of People Country magazine:
I had a friend do the Heimlich on me in a pizza restaurant. It was pretty freaky there for about 30 seconds. A piece of flatbread pizza flaked off and got lodged in my airway, and I went down. He picked me up and got it out of there!
Since then I've made all best efforts to verify the facts with Bryan, his representatives, and even his mother.

None of them will back up his story.

Per my previous item, when I tried to get answers to the following questions, Bryan's publicist declined to participate and his Nashville managers failed to respond to multiple inquiries.

  • What was the date of the incident?
  • Who was the the friend who rescued Bryan? 
  • Did he lose consciousness? 
  • Did he seek medical care? 
  • What's the name and address of the pizza restaurant?

Next I informed People Country editor Cynthia Sanz that Bryan's representatives wouldn't back up the story and asked if she intended to fact-check it.

She declined.

Meanwhile I've thrice-tweeted Bryan:

No reply.

Since Team Bryan was giving me the silent treatment and People Country apparently didn't care whether what they published was accurate, I decided to ask Luke's mother, LeClaire Bryan of Leesburg, GA.

Normally I wouldn't bother a relative, but Mrs. Bryan didn't appear to be a shrinking violet. On the contrary, she's been quoted in a number of media reports about her famous son and per his website, they've even co-hosted a TV show.

Host Nan Kelley, Luke Bryan, LeClaire Bryan, Great American Country TV, May 2010 (source - and click here for the video)

Also, what mother whose son was rescued by the Heimlich maneuver wouldn't be tickled to hear from Dr. Heimlich's son?

I speak from experience. Since my father introduced the treatment in 1974, countless people have told me that they or their loved ones were saved from choking by the maneuver and would I please thank my father on their behalf? 

That wasn't Mrs. Bryan's reaction.

Although she was extremely cordial and gave no indication that my call was an intrusion, she refused to discuss the purported choking incident and informed me I'd have to talk her son's managers.


I explained that I'd already made repeated attempts to do so and that the only reason I was reaching out to her was because they wouldn't provide me with the information.

Again she insisted that she wouldn't discuss the matter, so I didn't press it.

However, I did ask if she'd forward my questions to her son. She agreed and shared her e-mail address with me. I then e-mailed her my questions and a subsequent follow-up asking if she'd forwarded the information to Luke.

I didn't receive a reply from her or from anyone else. (Page down for my correspondence.)

Coran Capshaw flanked by his clients, Dave Matthews and Boyd Tinsley of the Dave Matthews Band (source)

Next I contacted Coran Capshaw, the founder/president of Bryan's powerhouse management company, Red Light Management. Capshaw -- who launched the Dave Matthews Band and whose company handles a stable of big name talent -- was second in this year's Billboard Power 100 list of major players in the music industry.

Later that day his assistant Zach Peters got back to me via a receptive e-mail. At his request, we then had a cordial phone call. Peters wanted to know more about the story I was reporting, so I showed him my previous blog item and explained that I hadn't reached any conclusions, but I didn't understand why no one would provide answers to my questions.

Peters promised to make inquiries and to provide me with the answers to my who/what/where/when questions.

Weeks went by and I didn't receive any responses to the follow-up e-mails I sent him and his boss. (Page down for that correspondence.)

So did the choking incident really happen?

If not -- and I repeat if -- why would anyone fabricate such a claim?

Per my previous item, choking rescues involving celebrities generate a passel of positive media coverage.

The Bryan story was no exception -- it was picked up by dozens of country music websites.

If the story is fiction -- yes, another if -- I wonder if first responders and others who have participated in life or death choking incidents would be amused?

Since Luke Bryan and his people seem to be playing hide and seek with me, there's not much more I can do except send them the item you're reading with an invitation to respond.

I hope the story turns out to be true.

One last if.

If any Sidebar readers ask Bryan or his representatives about this, I'd be interested in learning the results. Click here for his tour schedule.

APPENDED 11/8/12, 12:35pm: My invitation to Red Light Management to respond to the above item:

My correspondence with LeClaire Bryan:

My correspondence with Red Light Management, October 10-November 2, 2012:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Who's the "mystery friend" that rescued Nashville singing star Luke Bryan from choking? His people won't tell me and the editor of People Country -- the magazine that broke the story -- isn't interested


Choking rescues involving celebrities are a press agent's dream come true.

For example, last May at a Pittsburgh restaurant, Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier reportedly performed the Heimlich maneuver on a fellow diner who was choking, helping to remove a piece of steak caught in the man's throat.

Scores of glowing media reports resulted from the episode. My father even got into the act to present Frazier with a Heimlich Institute "Save-A-Life" award.


Which leads me to this quote from an unsigned interview in the current issue of People Country magazine. (Click here to view the the cover.)

The story was picked up by dozens of web sites such as DJ Ken Hayes of KKCB-FM (Duluth, MN) who blogged:
We’d hate to lose one of country music’s hottest artists! Luke is nominated for CMA’s Male Vocalist and Album of the year!
Needless to say, I'm delighted Mr. Bryan survived what sounds like a terrifying, life-threatening incident.

But how about some praise for the unnamed buddy who Heimlich-ed him?

Over the past week I've made best efforts to obtain the friend's name and other details from Byran's press agent and his personal managers. 


Here's what I wanted to find out, just some basic who/what/where/whens:
1) What was the date of the event? (Mr. Bryan said it happened, "last Monday.")
2) What's the name and location of the pizza restaurant?
3) What's the name of Mr. Bryan's friend who performed the Heimlich maneuver on him?
4) Based on his description ("I went down"), it appears that Mr. Bryan may have lost consciousness. Is that accurate?
5) Did Mr. Bryan subsequently seek medical care?
6) What's the name of the People Country reporter who interviewed Mr. Bryan?
I assumed they'd be eager to provide the information. The son of the doctor famous for the medical treatment that may have saved their client's life wants to write it up? Where's the downside?  

I assumed wrong.

Bryan's publicist Taryn Pray at EMI/Capitol Records declined to provide any information.

Taryn Pray (source)

And his personal managers, Kerri Edwards and Waylon Weatherholt of Red Light Management, failed to respond to multiple inquiries.


Since those turned out to be dead ends, I assumed People Country would be interested. They might even want to report an upbeat follow-up with an all-smiles photo of Bryan and his heroic friend showing how he performed the Heimlich maneuver on the singer.

I've really got to get over this habit of assuming. 

On September 19, I exchanged e-mails with editor Cynthia Sanz. I sent her copies of my correspondence with Bryan's people and asked:
1. The interview with Mr. Bryan didn't include a byline. What's the name of your reporter who obtained the quote?

2. What was the date of the interview?

3. Does People Country intend to fact-check the information? If so, would you please courtesy-copy me?
Here's her same-day reply that ignored all my questions:

Cynthia Sanz (source)

It's unclear why Ms. Sanz and the singer's representatives don't seem interested in giving Luke Bryan's rescuer friend the recognition he deserves, but perhaps others will.

This item was updated with the September 24, 2012 tweet to Mr. Bryan.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Somebody out there doesn't like me -- anonymous letter-writer alerts IL senator and Attorney General to my "hit list of victims"!

As I've reported in a string of items, since last year Illinois State Senator Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) has been asking tough questions about what happened to millions of tax dollars awarded to the Save-A-Life Foundation.

SALF was the scandal-ridden Chicago nonprofit that's reportedly under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General.

According to the author of an anonymous poison pen letter to the senator and copied to the AG, it's all a misunderstanding.

And it's all my fault.

As Sidebar readers know, SALF was a high-flying Chicago nonprofit that used to be the darling of Illinois media with connections up and down the Prairie State's political food chain -- Dick Durbin, Jan Schakowsky, Arne Duncan, John Shimkus, Emil Jones Jr., Paul Vallas, Gery Chico, and other worthies.

Here's Rita Mullins, former mayor of Palatine, IL, and Carol J. Spizzirri -- the gal pals who helmed the organization -- and my father at a Washington, DC conference that was supposed to move their organization into the big leagues:

Instead, a year later the SALF hit the fan when ABC7 aired the first of four scorching exposes. Since then, there have been dozens more print and broadcast reports, including a March interview I did with an Illinois paper.

Per a San Diego newsweekly article about her sordid history, Spizzirri hightailed it to a mobile home park near Carlsbad a couple years ago.

Sen. Bivins tagged Spizzirri and Mullins in this acerbic letter he sent to the IL Attorney General:

Turns out the senator's letter really got under somebody's skin.

Check out this anonymous screed he received that portrays me as slightly worse than Charlie Manson. (I've redacted a paragraph consisting of crapulous allegations about a third party.)

For fun, I'll try and fact-check the claims in the letter. It shouldn't require much effort.

For example:
To enlighten you, the students of Dixon schools were taught/saved lives with SALF's life saving curriculum instructed by off-duty Dixon City Fire Department EMS professionals, which operated through a Branch at St. John's Hospital, Springfield.
Sen. Bivins -- misspelled "Bevins" by the cluck who wrote the letter -- lives in Dixon and was Lee County Sheriff for 20 years. Here's what he wrote me:
I did talk to one of the longest serving fireman in my town and he doesn't recall any such program (SALF) ever being offered here.
As for my motives, I'll leave it to others to decide whether this page of media reports that resulted from my whistleblowing efforts constitutes a "hit list" -- and what may have compelled me to take a closer look at Spizzirri's organization.

Carol Spizzirri and my father (then 85 years old) at SALF's US Conference of Mayors presentation, January 19, 2005

One last question.

Why is the skank who wrote the anonymous letter to Sen. Bivins giving me grief about my father? Per this ABC7 report, it was Spizzirri and her organization that kicked him to the curb:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

My father's affectionate correspondence with Phyllis Diller re: "malariotherapy" and his other crackpot medical claims (1994-2003)

Phyllis Diller (July 17, 1917–August 20, 2012)

Yesterday's passing of actress/comic Phyllis Diller resulted in scores of tributes to the show business legend.

As it happens, according to a batch of letters dating from 1994-2003, Diller was an enthusiastic supporter of my father's crackpot medical claims, including the Heimlich Institute's medical atrocity experiments on AIDS patients in China and Africa. 

Based on the dates, the relationship may have started with the events reported in this must-read October 30, 1994 front-page Los Angeles Times article by Pamela Warrick, Heimlich's Audacious Maneuver: He proposes curing AIDS by giving patients malaria. Tests draw celebrity money--and researchers' protests.

Well-meaning celebrities with more dollars than sense can be easy prey for scammers promising medical miracles and, based on Warrick's well-researched, lively article, my father had this bunch wrapped around his finger.

In fairness to the stars he skinned, before her article, my father had a public image as a renowned medical genius and humanitarian. How could they know that he was just acting the role?

One thing's for sure. He must have put on a good performance to fool a bunch of actors.

Okay, on to the correspondence between my father and Phyllis Diller. I found seven pages at where, at this writing, you can purchase the originals starting at $999.

Page down to view them all, but here are some choice screenshots.

From March 14, 1994:

Probably attached to the letter, a flyer hyping his bizarre drowning rescue claims - "To Phyllis - with love"(!) dated March 14, 1994:

From a July 13, 1999 letter, five years after the LA Times article - "All my love"?

Three years later, per the articles linked on my web page, the China experiments made national headlines after UCLA's Office of Human Subjects Protection launched an investigation as a result of a complaint I submitted under a pseudonym.

My father's affectionate correspondence with the late Phyllis Diller (1994-2003)

Friday, August 17, 2012

CDC, National Guard, Illinois agencies awarded millions of tax dollars to Chicago nonprofit that taught unapproved, thoroughly-discredited, potentially-lethal medical treatment

Video clip from 1/19/05 presentation to US Conference of Mayors in which Save-A-Life Foundation founder/president Carol Spizzirri introduces, then lip-kisses and embraces my 85-year-old father (with whom she had a personal relationship). SALF is now reportedly under investigation by the IL Attorney General. According to a January letter from IL State Senator Tim Bivins, Spizzirri celebrated Xmas 2011 at Mullins's home in Palatine. 

From Save-A-Life Foundation in limbo, an October 11, 2009 Chicago Tribune article by staff reporter Lisa Black:
(Carol) Spizzirri launched a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching children emergency response techniques, raising at least $8.6 million in federal and state grants for her Save-A-Life Foundation...(Spizzirri) estimates 2 million children took the classes, many of them from the Chicago Public Schools.
If that's accurate - according to a number of records, including an official statement I received from Carol Spizzirri - a generation of Chicago students were taught to perform the Heimlich maneuver on drowning victims, an unapproved treatment that preeminent medical and water safety organizations had already determined was ineffective and potentially lethal since it wastes time and may cause vomiting leading to aspiration.

The millions of public dollars that funded SALF came from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Guard, and numerous Illinois state agencies.

The following is from last year's Washington Post. In parentheses, I've added dates with links to the supporting documents.
(The Heimlich maneuver has) been utterly discredited as a way of rescuing a person who is drowning, and can actually do serious harm to someone who has just been pulled from the water, numerous experts say.
...The list of experts who reject the Heimlich maneuver (to revive drowning victims) is lengthy: The American Red Cross (2000); the United States Lifesaving Association (1996); the American Heart Association (2000); the Institute of Medicine (1995); the International Life Saving Federation (1998).
...Dr. James Orlowski said he has documented nearly 40 cases where rescuers performing the Heimlich maneuver have caused complications for the victim. Orlowski is chief of pediatrics and pediatric intensive care at University Community Hospital in Tampa.

Via a Cleveland Scene cover story by reporter Thomas Francis that references the IOM's 1995 benchmark report rejecting the use of the Heimlich maneuver to revive drowning victims:
"The Institute of Medicine is the crown jewel of medical intelligentsia in the United States," says (drowning expert and retired Coast Guard Admiral Alan) Steinman. "They looked at this issue and said, 'Bad idea.'"

Former SALF medical director Stanley Zydlo MD at a 2009 book signing (source)

Five years later, SALF's medical director ignored the IOM report and the other organizations.

From Water Rescue Sequence: The Controversial Role of the Heimlich Maneuver (in drowning rescue) the year 2000 article by Pamela Mills-Senn which was the Rosetta Stone for much of my later research:

Since there are no published studies supporting the use of the Heimlich maneuver for drowning rescue, it's unclear what "documented literature" Dr. Zydlo researched.

His time might have been better spent researching SALF's founder/president. 

From Where Did the Save-A-Life Money Go? by Don Bauder in the November 17, 2010 San Diego Reader:
(Carol) Spizzirri was a darling of politicians and bureaucrats, although it was a matter of record that she had been convicted twice for shoplifting. Save-A-Life began raking in money from government grants.

...(Spizzirri) had told (ABC I-Team reporter Chuck Goudie) that she was a registered nurse. But the station reported that the institution from which she had claimed to receive her nursing degree had never given her one. A hospital in which she had claimed to be a transplant nurse said she had been a patient care assistant, which is akin to a candy striper....
...On May 18, 1992 - four months before the fatal accident - Christina filed for an order of protection against her mother...The complaint stated that Spizzirri had struck Christina “on several occasions and threatened her on many occasions.
Per the May 30, 2000 Los Angeles Times, Ellis & Associates, the lifeguard training company discussed in Mills-Senn's article, dumped the Heimlich-for-drowning protocol shortly after her article appeared.

But SALF continued to teach and promote the treatment.

Here's a May 3, 2001 workshop held at the Illinois PTA's annual convention:

A year later, my father told reporter Angela D. Sykora of the Grayslake Review (IL):

SALF executives Rita Mullins (in the red turtleneck) and Carol Spizzirri (seated) with Mike "Heckuva job, Brownie" Brown at January 23, 2003 signing ceremony when SALF became a FEMA member organization, US Conference of Mayors annual meeting, Washington, DC. Six years later, as first reported by The Sidebar, FEMA kicked SALF out.

Astoundingly, in January 2003 SALF became a member organization of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

My father marked the occasion with a joint letter to FEMA chief Mike Brown and Carol Spizzirri (page down) that included:

In other words, FEMA was fully aware that SALF's training program was putting the public at risk as the agency provided SALF access "to train and educate children and families in basic first aid through the Citizen Corps network of state and local councils."  

Two years later, from SALF's annual "Bridge the Gap" convention in 2005:

Here comes the clincher.

When I started researching my father's career in 2002, I already knew he hadn't held a hospital job since he was fired for misconduct in 1976 by Cincinnati's Jewish Hospital.

But I quickly learned that for decades he's been persona non grata in the medical profession.

Besides his crackpot claims that the Heimlich maneuver can revive drowning victims, stop asthma attacks, and cure cystic fibrosis, the Heimlich Institute conducted a series of notorious offshore experiments in which US and foreign nationals suffering with cancer, Lyme Disease, and AIDS were infected with malaria. (For more details, watch Brian Ross's ABC 20/20 report, Is Dr. Heimlich really a savior?)

My father and SALF's second-in-command, former Palatine, IL mayor Rita Mullins

Sure he has a famous name, but what legitimate organization would want him as a medical adviser?

And what reputable first aid training group would teach the public to perform the Heimlich maneuver on drowning victims, as reported by Pamela Mills-Senn?

I wanted to find out for myself so in early 2004, using a pseudonym, I e-mailed SALF and asked for a position statement.

In a chirpy, solicitous February 8, 2004 e-mail, Carol Spizzirri sent me the following. (Page down to view the entire letter which, incidentally, is littered with grammatical errors.)

Were the CDC, the National Guard, and the Illinois government agencies aware that they were providing millions of dollars to an organization that was teaching and promoting an unapproved, long-discredited medical treatment that might seriously injure or kill people?

Did any of these agencies ever review SALF's training protocols? Did any of them ask the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or independent medical experts to evaluate SALF's program?

What about the prominent public officials from Illinois like Arne Duncan, Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman John Shimkus, Paul Vallas, Gery Chico, and others who promoted and/or helped fund SALF? Were they even aware what SALF was teaching to students in their state?

In days to come, I'll try to get answers to those questions and will report the results here.


8/20/12 UPDATE: I just sent letters of concern re: SALF's faulty, dangerous training to the Illinois Attorney General's Charitable Trust Bureau (which reportedly has been investigating SALF since mid-2010), and to Chicago Public Schools Inspector General James M. Sullivan with whom I filed an investigation request on January 5, 2011. Click the links to view my letters on

This item has been slightly revised.