Monday, June 11, 2012

Jane Brody at the New York Times (again) warns against performing the Heimlich on drowning victims -- and my question for the news media

Jane Brody (source)

In a column today about water safety, well-known New York Times reporter and author Jane Brody included this:

This is the second column in which Ms. Brody explicitly warned against the treatment. From her July 4, 2006 column:

Per last year's Washington Post

Except for the Heart Association, all of the above organizations have published reports about the Heimlich for drowning, all reaching the same conclusion: there's no legitimate evidence supporting its use and if you Heimlich a drowning victim, it wastes precious rescue time and may induce vomiting leading to aspiration.

The Heart Association didn't issue a report, but the organization's most recent published guidelines say as much:

If you think about it, singling out and warning against performing the Heimlich on drowning victims is a testament to my father's success at circulating his bogus claims.

And how did he manage to get as far as he did?

Per this recent blog item from the Houston Press (emphasis and links added):
(Peter Heimlich) reports, the Heimlich Institute "has finally quit circulating my father's dangerous, thoroughly discredited medical claims."

The institute's Web site has, he says, "deleted its main pages recommending the Heimlich maneuver as an effective treatment for drowning rescue."
..."His claims were based on nothing but a handful of skimpy cases in which near-dead drowning victims were 'miraculously revived' by the maneuver," (Peter) says. "Despite such thin evidence, for decades The New York Times, CBS News, Inside Edition and scores of other media outlets gave him a platform to urge the public to perform the Heimlich on people who were drowning."
Here's a fair question.

Will any of those media outlets report that after 40 years, the Heimlich Institute has now stopped promoting the treatment?