Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fargo daily publishes my letter re: Dr. Neal Barnard's history of hyping the Heimlich for drowning rescue & turning a blind eye to "malariotherapy"

My father and Dr. Neal Barnard at a 25th Anniversary gala of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), West Hollywood, CA, April 11, 2010; click here for video in which my father appears at timestamp 1:45

HERE IS THE REST OF THE STORY REGARDING DR. NEAL BARNARD AND DR. HEIMLICH, Letter to the Editor, The Forum, Fargo, North Dakota, June 16, 2012 

The paper published a slightly edited version of my letter. Here's the original, including links to supporting documents:
Based on my experience, the headline The full Neal deal: Fargo-born nutrition advocate doesn’t avoid controversy for Tammy Swift's May 20, 2012 feature about Neal Barnard MD got it wrong.

Dr. Barnard has repeatedly avoided discussing his controversial relationship with my father, the physician famous for “the Heimlich maneuver.”

For example, the LA Weekly reported that in its mission statement and IRS filings, “PCRM says it is 'strongly opposed to unethical human research.' (But they) hand out a major award named after Dr. Henry Heimlich, who has been condemned by mainstream medical organizations around the world for his 20-year program of trying to cure cancer and AIDS by injecting people with malaria-infected blood...(Dr.) Barnard wouldn't come to the phone in his D.C. office to defend Heimlich, who has remained on PCRM's medical advisory board since 1986.”

Then there's my father's controversial four-decade crusade to promote the use of the Heimlich maneuver (abdominal thrusts) to revive drowning victims.

Last year the Washington Post reported that the “American Red Cross; the United States Lifesaving Association; the American Heart Association; the Institute of Medicine; the International Life Saving Federation and many experienced doctors and academics have strongly inveighed against doing 'abdominal thrusts' for drowning victims...Dr. James Orlowski (chief of pediatrics at University Community Hospital in Tampa) said he has documented nearly 40 cases where rescuers performing the Heimlich maneuver have caused complications for the victim.”

Nevertheless, for decades Dr. Barnard has enthusiastically hyped the Heimlich for drowning in letters to the editor, in newspaper articles, and on ABC 20/20. His organization even produced a TV spot and issued a press release recommending the treatment.

After reading your profile - which identifies Dr. Barnard as “a psychiatrist by training” - I wrote him and asked if he and his organization continue to recommend performing the Heimlich maneuver on drowning victims.

Despite multiple e-mails and faxes, I haven't received a reply.

Peter M. Heimlich
Duluth, GA

This item has been updated.