Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In popular iTunes "comedy" podcast, Huntington, WV physician/professor & her husband mock the members of my family -- including my late mother -- portraying us as "crazy weirdos" [UPDATE: The podcast has been scrubbed]

UPDATE (8/13/18): Recently I received a tip from a reader that the November 25, 2014 Sawbones segment about my father and my family had disappeared from the internet.

Here's the original URL:

Here's a screenshot of the current page:

Not long ago I sent courteous e-mails to co-hosts Sydnee McElroy MD and her husband Justin McElroy asking what happened, but I never received any reply.

My original item is below the hash marks.



In a half-hour Thanksgiving holiday podcast ostensibly about my father's history of medical misconduct, Sydnee McElroy MD and her husband Justin McElroy of Huntington, WV, spent half the program making fun of the members of my family, alluding to us as "crazy" and "weirdos."

Dr. McElroy said she did so to assure listeners -- who reportedly number in the tens of thousands -- that no matter how screwed up their families are, my family's got it worse.

A board-certified physician on faculty at Marshall University who specializes in family medicine, Dr. McElroy admitted during the program that she'd searched for "anything weird" about each of us, presumably with the intention of denigrating us.
Further, in response to my questions about factual errors and other problematic information she reported, Dr. McElroy refused to back up her work and indicated that she was under no obligation to provide accurate information to listeners.

Justin McElroy, Sydnee McElroy MD (source)

According to Local couple's online audio show gets tens of thousands of listeners by Dave Lavender, Huntington (West Virginia) Herald-Dispatch, January 20, 2014:
The weekly humor podcast fea­tures (Justin McElroy and his wife, Sydnee McElroy), a Hunting­ton-based family doctor, dissect­ing medical history uncovering all the odd, weird, wrong, dumb and just gross ways doctors have tried to fix people.
Recorded every Thursday here in Huntington and heard weekly around the world on iTunes and Maximum Fun, the quirky medi­cal-based podcast — which has poked fun at everything from bizarre hangover cures to blood­letting — is chalking up between 35,000 and 40,000 downloads per episode.

On November 25, they aired a 30-minute podcast called The Heimlich maneuver.

The first part of the program was about my father's problematic career and unfounded medical claims -- unquestionably fair game for a program about quack medicine.

But halfway through the program, the McElroys changed course and systematically went after the members of my family, including my late mother.

Dr. McElroy went through a laundry list of our names, sticking pins in each of us based on what she considers to be our failings, while her husband interjected wisecracks.

Per this clip, Dr. McElroy admits it was her idea and explains her purpose for doing so. 

Sydnee McElroy MD: I'm gonna talk about (Dr. Heimlich) himself first and some of the stuff he's done, but then, I just, I..I got into this topic and I'm gonna have to tell you about (Dr. Heimlich's) family as well because...well, it's just great. And I think this is another good Thanksgiving topic. You know, everybody's crazy families are coming in, you're going to spend a lot of time with all the weirdos you're related to? Well, you got nothing on the Heimlichs.

The segment about my family goes on for some time -- too long to upload under Fair Use laws, so I've posted short clips.

First, Dr. McElroy goes after my mother, the late Jane Heimlich, because she wrote books about so-called alternative medicine.

After years of serious prolonged illnesses, mom died a couple years ago -- well before her time, in my opinion,

Throughout her life, she endured harsh emotional and other abuse, first at the hands of her sadistic father, dance studio mogul Arthur Murray, then during five decades of marriage to my father.

In her 2010 memoir Out of Step, she left out most of the horrors, but to her credit, mom found the strength to share some of the humiliation and betrayal that my father put her (and the rest of us) through.

Next, the McElroys aimed their peashooters at yours truly. I'll get to that in a second.

They then started in on my younger sister Janet Heimlich, who authored a book about child abuse and who heads a nonprofit "that seeks to protect children from abuse and neglect enabled by religious, spiritual, and cultural ideologies."

The McElroys think Janet deserves to be their piñata because she advocates against circumcision.

Next they aim their sights at my older brother Phil Heimlich.

Why do they think Phil's a "weirdo" who's worthy of their derision?

Because he chose to become a Christian.

At the end of the clip, Dr. McElroy says she "couldn't find anything weird" about my other sister, Elisabeth Heimlich.

In other words -- and this deserves the bold red highlighter -- Dr. McElroy admitted that she went out of her way to search for what she considered to be negative, denigrating information about each of us.

Incidentally, Elisabeth is a talented photographer who took the beautiful portrait of my wife Karen Shulman that's attached to the audio snips.

Okay, here's my turn in the barrel.

In her efforts to "find anything weird" about me, either Dr. McElroy's a lousy researcher or I've led an unblemished life (ha, ha).

The best she could do was to claim that my website is unreliable and written in a "stream of consciousness" style.

What Dr. McElroy doesn't say is she almost certainly used information from my "unreliable" website.

Briefly, my site, Outmaneuvered: How we busted the Heimlich medical frauds, summarizes how Karen and I unexpectedly uncovered the remarkable unseen history that became the basis for scores of media reports that exposed my father as a dangerous charlatan whose unfounded medical recommendations put the public at risk  and who scammed big bucks from naive donors including Jack Nicholson, Ron Howard, Bette Midler, and Muhammad Ali.

About halfway down my home page, I included a few paragraphs describing how Phil and Janet had unsuccessfully tried to undermine Karen and me.

Like it or not -- and I didn't -- that's a legitimate part of our story.

From those paragraphs, Dr. McElroy apparently cherry-picked facts she considered to be negative -- Janet's critiques of circumcision and Phil's religious beliefs -- took them out of context and used them in her attempts to belittle my sis and bro.

No, I'm not pleased that Dr. McElroy apparently used information from my site as rocks in her slingshot.

If so, her choice to do so speaks for itself.


Digging a deeper hole, Huntington's fun couple also claim that I'm a conspiracy nut.

That raises an interesting question I can answer.

For reasons that remain unclear, in their stompfest on my peeps, the McElroys chose not to mention Karen.

Since Dr. McElroy says she was all over my website, she knew that Karen has been my equal partner in researching my father's unusual career.

Here's my point.

Since they disappeared Karen, it's unclear if the McElroys also think she's a conspiracy nut.

I've had the very good fortune to have been married to her since 1988, so I can assure them that Karen doesn't believe in conspiracies.

Like me, she thinks much of the misery in the world is caused by types who get their kicks stepping on other people.

Along those lines, in the same clip Dr. McElroy chuckles as her husband assures their listeners, "So no matter how awkward your Thanksgiving is, keep in mind that someone out there is having a more awkward Thanksgiving."


My family's Thanksgivings aren't awkward.

They're nonexistent.

Again, since she spent so much time on my website, Dr. McElroy must have gleaned from the first few paragraphs on my home page that my family was shattered long before Karen and I started looking into my father's troubling career:
In Spring 2002, my wife Karen and I began researching the career of my father, Dr. Henry J. Heimlich of Cincinnati, famous for the "Heimlich maneuver" choking rescue method.
Via Tom Francis's November 2005 Radar Magazine article (the most thorough article to date about my father's troubling career and our efforts to bring the facts to public attention), here's what triggered our interest:

For the first 48 years of his life Peter distanced himself from his father's career and celebrity. A year or two might slip by between calls from his parents. But in 2001, Peter says, he learned of serious health problems in his family. He refuses to say what those problems were, but he insists he was appalled to learn that his father was refusing to address them.

"My father's the great Dr. Lifesaver," Peter says bitterly. "How could he have let this happen?"

When he tried to get the facts, he says, his father hung up on him and his mother wouldn't respond to his letters.

Peter and Karen began to wonder whether there were other family secrets worth looking into as well.
Since Spring 2003, much of the information we uncovered has been reported by mainstream print and broadcast news outlets in the U.S. and abroad, but there's plenty more I hope to get reported.

For example, what was the nature of my father's relationships with at least three doctors who lost their licenses for extreme over-prescribing of narcotics, two of whom did prison time?


Since the McElroys put my work under their microscope, turnabout is fair play. 

First, I think their concept of a comic-edged, educational program about quackery is terrific. 

And Sawbones is a very clever title.

Comedy's in the ear of the beholder, so I'll let others decide if the McElroys deliver the goods in that department.

But, based on my experience, the educational part is a fail.


Among other reasons, Dr. McElroy wrote me that she doesn't care if the information she provides to listeners is accurate.

For example, here's what she says about the scientific research behind the Heimlich maneuver and other choking rescue treatments: 
Sydnee McElory MD: I've read all about this now to try to figure out what is their evidence for which is the best (treatment response for a choking emergency). Obviously, again there's no studies on (back blows or the Heimlich maneuver), like no controlled studies 'cause you can't. You can't force people to choke and then try to save them. So it's all based on our experiences with these things and then theoretically.
Dr. McElroy claims to have "read all about it," but apparently she didn't even search for any articles in medical journals via PubMed.

If she had, she would have located published studies about choking by my father, Charles Guildner MD, Archer Gordon MD, and others who used both human beings and animals as research models.

Dr. McElroy apparently never even looked at my father's entry on Wikipedia.

If she had, she would have been aware of Dr. Guildner's study and a widely-cited 2000 choking study by Audun Langhelle which used cadavers as research subjects.

I'm no expert but my understanding is that studies using cadavers has been going on for centuries.

Based on Dr. McElory's comments, that apparently never even occurred to her.

In an attempt to learn more, in a December 2nd e-mail I asked if she'd searched PubMed.

In the same e-mail, I asked about this allegation she leveled against me:
At time stamp 25:20 (of the program), you said: (Peter Heimlich) thinks that there's, like, a big conspiracy behind all this, that there was a lot of money changing hands and powerful people and probably stuff that wasn't...I don't know.

Would you please direct me to the information on which you based your assertion that I think there's "a big conspiracy behind all this." Also would you please clarify what you meant by "all this"?
I didn't hear from her for a week, but after I e-mailed a few courteous nudges -- page down for the complete correspondence -- she finally responded:
Mr. Heimlich,

I'm sorry, but I just simply don't have the time to provide you with all the information you requested. I work full time and I cannot research a show more than once. Our show is a comedy podcast meant to provide entertainment.
In other words, she refused to back up her own statements -- about misreporting medical facts and her criticisms of my work -- and she doesn't care whether or not the medical and historical information she shares with listeners is accurate.

Given the effort she puts into her podcast, a more accurate title might be Lazybones.

I'll wrap this up by confirming that the McElroys got at least one thing right.

When it comes to a Norman Rockwell "Happy Thanksgiving" stereotype, we Heimlichs don't fit the bill.

Like many if not most families, we've had our share of serious challenges, conflict, and pain.

But as the saying goes, you can't choose your family.

However, you can choose your doctor. 

Are you looking for a family physician who, because she finds fault with our opinions, work, and religious beliefs, suggests that the members of my family are "crazy"?  (And coming from a licensed, board-certified physician, does that qualify as a diagnosis?)

Are you looking for a doctor so indiscreet that she'd share such opinions with tens of thousands of strangers in a podcast?

Are you looking for a doctor clueless enough to attempt to publicly humiliate my family and not perceive that in response she might get a dose of her own medicine?

If so, look no further.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Faith-based journalism, Part I: In a high-profile science magazine, a widely-published Brooklyn writer claimed he was rescued in dramatic choking incident -- but he and his editors refuse to provide any supporting facts

Noah Davis (source)
Via The Masterful Marketing of the Heimlich Maneuver by Brooklyn writer Noah Davis, published November 14, 2014 on the website of a popular science magazine called Pacific Standard, published out of Santa Barbara's Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy:
Awhile back, I choked on a piece of beef stew. It happened as these things usually do: One minute I was happily sitting in a Dominican restaurant down the block having a “business lunch” with a friend, and the next I couldn’t breathe. This was not ideal. I calmly got up, found a glass of water, and chugged half of it, but that didn’t solve the problem. My friend, now concerned, asked if I was choking. I nodded. He gave me a look that was equal parts “uh oh” and “this is going to be so embarrassing,” then proceeded to give me what he thought was the Heimlich maneuver while the rest of the restaurant’s patrons looked on in confusion. After five or six chest compressions, the hunk dislodged, and I rejoined the land of the breathing.
Here's the problem.

I asked Davis to provide me with basic facts about the incident: the date, the name of his friend, and the name of the restaurant.

He refused.

To paraphrase Jake Gittes, the private eye played by Jack Nicholson in the film Chinatown, Davis's response runs contrary to my experience -- and perhaps to common sense.

Based on my decade of research into my father's career and "the Heimlich," when people are involved in choking rescues, they can't wait to share the details.

For example, in media reports that turn up almost daily, when someone steps in to help a choking victim, not surprisingly, they're showered with gratitude and praise for possibly having helped save someone's life.

And I don't know about you, but if I thought my life may have been saved by a friend or a stranger, I'd shout their name from the rooftops.

Maria Streshinsky (source)


So I brought my questions to Davis's editor, Nicholas Jackson.

I received this reply from Pacific Standard's Editor-In-Chief Maria Streshinsky:
Mr. Heimlich, again thanks for your continued attention to the story. But I don't want Nick or Noah releasing that information to you. The friend was unnamed and so was the restaurant. And we are going to leave it that way. Thank you again. But let's call this matter complete now.
I then asked if she or Jackson had verified any of the facts with Mr. Davis.

Her non-response?
We have very clear fact checking processes for our print and web authors. Again, I appreciate your interest but we have piles of work we have to get to. We won't be answering any other emails.
Are reporters and editors obliged to provide substantiating facts to readers?

Of course not.

But based on my experience, good journalists do so for at least two reasons.

First, they take pride in their work and therefore are quick to back up their reporting. 

Second, and more importantly, when journalists refuse to provide reasonable information to readers, it can create the appearance that they may have fabricated information.

For example, did Davis make up his own choking rescue to add some zip to an article he was writing about my father?

I don't know because he and his editors refuse to provide any substantiating facts.

By failing to do so, they created doubt about the event.

To quote Evelyn Mulwray, Chinatown's star-crossed heiress played by Faye Dunaway, "Understand? Or is it too tough for you?"

If that slope's not slippery enough, Streshinsky's non-response even managed to put the credibility of her publication up for grabs. 

That is, by refusing to provide basic facts about the claimed incident -- not even the date or the name of the restaurant? -- she made it clear that she expects Pacific Standard readers to accept the veracity of information published in her magazine not on evidence, but on faith.

This from a purported science magazine?


It gets worse.

The current online version of Davis's Pacific Standard article isn't the original.

Shortly after it was published, I caught a handful of factual errors and brought them to Jackson's attention.

À la Winston Smith, he quickly rewrote the article, disappeared the errors, and failed to inform readers.

Details in Part II.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"The Heimlich" has never been recommended in Australia "because it can be dangerous." But the American Heart Association recommends it as the best treatment. Who's got it right?

Via The Right Way to Stop Choking by Daniela Ongaro, The Daily Telegraph (Australia), October 29, 2014:

Although popularised by Hollywood, the manoeuvre (invented by American physician, Dr Henry Heimlich in the 1970s and introduced in the US) has never been accepted practice in Australia.

The Australian Resuscitation Council in its June 2014 guidelines states: “Life-threatening complications associated with use of abdominal thrusts have been reported in 32 case reports.

“Therefore, the use of abdominal thrusts in the management of Foreign Body Airway Obstruction is not recommended. Instead back blows and chest thrusts should be used.”

St John’s Ambulance First Aid trainer Nick Allison says Australian resuscitation experts do not recommend the Heimlich, which has attracted significant controversy for the risks it poses and the lack of scientific evidence supporting its use.

“The Heimlich manoeuvre looks dramatic, which is why you see it in all the movies,” Allison says.

“It came out in the US but there were concerns because of the damage being caused (to victims) such as broken ribs and the difficulty involved in using it if the choking person was a larger person.

“It’s not a recommended technique because it can be dangerous.”

Via the Dallas-based American Heart Association's most recent Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science (2010), chair: Robert A. Berg MD, Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (emphasis added):

Although chest thrusts, back slaps, and abdominal thrusts are feasible and effective for relieving severe FBAO in conscious (responsive) adults and children ≥1 year of age, for simplicity in training it is recommended that abdominal thrusts be applied in rapid sequence until the obstruction is relieved.

Simplicity in training?

What about science-based evidence?

Via CPR research: Increasing survival after cardiac arrest, Discovery's Edge (the Mayo Clinic's Online Research Magazine), November 2011:

Roger D. White, M.D., an anesthesiologist who favors button-down shirts and ties, has saved countless lives through groundbreaking work in cardiac resuscitation at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn...(Many) of Dr. White's published findings have been incorporated into the American Heart Association (AHA) resuscitation guidelines....

Via A New Maneuver - the circular history of a lifesaving procedure by Pamela Mills-Senn, Cincinnati Magazine, April 2007:

(In) a 2004 e-mail to Peter Heimlich (who corresponded with White using a pseudonym), White is significantly less blase about Dr. (Henry) Heimlich's role. "There was never any science here," White wrote. "Heimlich overpowered science all along the way with his slick tactics and intimidation, and everyone, including us at the AHA, caved in."

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Three ways the "ozone therapy for ebola" story is one degree from my parents -- and questions about Rotary International's involvement in dubious medical experiments conducted on vulnerable human subjects

Last week I blogged an item with this sprawl of a headline:

As it happens, there are at least three "one degree from my parents" connections.

1) Per a May 9, 2002 article the Indian Hill Journal -- a suburban Cincinnati paper -- my father used Rotary to help promote his claims that malaria could cure AIDS.

I don't know if the experiments moved forward in Gambia, but via Tom Francis's landmark November 2005 two-part Radar Magazine report, here's a description of how Cincinnati's Heimlich Institute conducted similar "research" in two other countries in Africa:
Mekbib Wondewossen is an Ethiopian immigrant who makes his living renting out cars in the San Francisco area, but in his spare time he works for Dr. Heimlich, doing everything from "recruiting the patients to working with the doctors here and there and everywhere," Wondewossen says. The two countries he names are Ethiopia and the small equatorial nation of Gabon, on Africa's west coast.

"The Heimlich Institute is part of the work there - the main people, actually, in the research," Wondewossen says. "They're the ones who consult with us on everything. They tell us what to do."

...Wondewossen says that the researchers involved in the study are not doctors. He refuses to name members of the research team, because he says it would get them into trouble with the local authorities. "The government over there is a bad government," he says. "They can make you disappear."

Wondewossen won't reveal the source of funding for this malariotherapy research. "There are private funders," he says. But as to their identity?"I can't tell you that, because that's the deal we make with them, you know?" He scoffs at the question of whether his team got approval to conduct this research from a local ethics review board. Bribery on that scale, he says, is much too expensive: "If you want the government to get involved there, you have to give them a few million - and then they don't care what you do."


For more information about the Heimlich Institute's notorious "malariotherapy" experiments on AIDS patients, check out these recent articles that resulted from research by me and Karen.

How Dr. Heimlich Maneuvered Hollywood Into Backing His Dangerous AIDS "Cure" by Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter, August 14, 2014 

2) Here's another Rotary connection.

Via Mystery Study, an August 7, 2013 article published by the newspaper Barbados Today, about a government investigation that was triggered by my inquiries:

Tennyson Springer (source)
The Ministry of Health is officially probing the existence of a controversial asthma study purportedly done in Barbados and involving a famous American physician.
But amid continued external queries about whether the research “followed legal and ethical guidelines”, Acting Permanent Secretary Tennyson Springer said initial investigations had found no evidence of its existence.
...Last month Springer responded on the Ministry of Health’s behalf and told (Peter) Heimlich that there was no knowledge of the study which was said to have involved 67 minors.

“So far, there has been no institutional memory or documentation of this research. However, the Ministry of Health will continue to probe into this alleged project."
Click here to download a 156-page pdf of the documents from the Henry J. Heimlich Archival Collection at the University of Cincinnati that include the protocol and financial records showing that, after being rejected by Cincinnati's Deaconess Hospital, the Barbados study was funded by the Rotary Foundation of Cincinnati (and the Heimlich Institute).

As far as I know the Barbados Ministry of Health's investigation is ongoing.

The "malariotherapy for AIDS" and "Heimlich maneuver for asthma" experiments couldn't be conducted in the United States because they violate U.S. laws protecting the rights of human beings used as research subjects.

Here are some good questions.

How many other human experiments that would be illegal in the United States and other industrialized countries have been or are currently being funded by Rotary?

Does Rotary International have any policy in place to prohibit funding or participation by members in such medical experiments ? If not, why not?

If you've got any related information to share, click here to e-mail me.

3) Finally, back to "ozone therapy," here's an item from The Insiders' Guide to Cincinnati (2007) about my late mother:

Monday, November 24, 2014

NYC foot doctor says he performed "ozone therapy" for ebola on the president of Sierra Leone -- claims funding came from Rotary; Santa Rosa, CA doc who partnered on the aborted project claims Sierra Leone ebola director "involved in crimes against humanity" and tells interviewer "I do rectal (ozone treatment) at home" [UPDATED 11/29/14]

Ever heard of "ozone therapy"?

In contrast, Forbes Magazine included ozone therapy in a 2009 list of the "Most Dangerous Health Scams":
One of a number of unproven “therapies” offered at expensive cross-border clinics, ozone therapy involves infusing the blood, body cavities or drinking water with triatomic oxygen, in order to kill “HIV and cancer virons [and] arthritis microbes” [sic] while enriching the blood, according to one Web site. The Environmental Protection Agency considers ground-level ozone to be a pollutant that causes significant health risks.
 For other contrasting opinions about "ozone therapy," click here for a keyword search of "ozone" on the website of the American College for Advancement in Medicine ("The Voice of Integrative Medicine"). Click here for the same search on ("Your Guide to Quackery, Health Fraud, and Intelligent Decisions"). 

In an October 31 interview with conducted by Lynn Doyle via a NewsMaxTV program called Meet The Doctors, Robins discusses his recent trip to Sierra Leone to treat ebola patients with ozone therapy. 

According to the interview, the project was prematurely terminated by the Minister of Health, but not before he treated the country's president, Ernest Bai Koroma.

Cynthia Oremi Jarrett-Thorpe and President Ernest Bai Koroma (source)

Was President Koroma ill? I've asked for a statement from Cynthia Oremi Jarrett-Thorpe of Sierra Leone's consulate in Atlanta (near where I live). She e-mailed me that she's working on my request.

Here's the NewsMax interview from which I transcribed and time-stamped some highlights.

(:55) Robins: We got (to Sierra Leone) late at night, saw that all our cargo had come in with us with all our medical supplies and equipment. The next morning we went right over and trained about eighty to a hundred doctors and nurses who were gonna be on the front lines fighting this. Over the next three days we trained individual groups of these doctors to make sure they knew how to do this intravenous therapy well and we wound up with a handful who we thought were the best.

Howard F. Robins DPM and Robert J. Rowen MD, apparently in Sierra Leone (source)

(1:50) I went with Dr. Robert Rowen from Santa Rosa, California, and he also has been training doctors in ozone therapy, so the two of us were able to do this in a rather intense way.

(2:15) The older what they call senior doctors there were very skeptical, so it took us about, just a few hours to win them over with the science of it and then when we went into the clinic and started doing it on them and treating them and having them treat each other, that was the finishing touch. They were just ready to go. 

Doyle: And you actually treated some of the highest members of the government of Sierra Leone.

Howard F. Robins and Robert Rowen MD with photo of Presidents Obama and Koroma (source)

Robins: Well, you can't get higher than President Koroma. And after meeting with him, he invited us back to his home that evening and this is isn't just like a home, this is like getting into the White House. And we went back to his home, spent an hour and a half, and I personally got to treat President Koroma who actually trusted me to do this on him without any security around him and he saw the ease of it, the safety of it and immediately wanted us to get into the clinics to do this.

Doyle: And yet you did not get into the clinics to do it.

Robins: Well, this was an interesting and very unfortunate situation that happened. I left a week ago Wednesday night at midnight [presumably October 22] to come home. Dr. Rowen stayed two more days. We were finally getting in that Thursday morning. After meeting with the major who at this clinic there called Hastings, which is in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, the major and all the healthcare workers were fighting over who's gonna get the therapy first so they would strengthen themselves against getting the virus themselves and a call comes through from the deputy assistant to the minister of health. And he says if they do this therapy on anyone there including the healthcare workers they're gonna lose their jobs. A few minutes later the minister of health calls and confirms this. So it never happened that day at the clinic.


(4:20) Robins: We met with  (Palo Conteh, Sierra Leone's new ebola czar). His only question was, why aren't we in there now doing it? The president wanted us in there doing it....

On the right, Kojo Carew MD (source)

(5:25) Robins: The latest that just came in around this is that the doctor we were working with, Dr. Kojo Carew, refused to treat any of the ministers and their families who were now clamoring for the therapy. He was going to Liberia 'cause he knows the president of Liberia, to threat the people there.

Robins: Well, what happened was, we get an e-mail from Monty Jones, the special adviser to the President Koroma, saying we'd like to renegotiate you coming back to Sierra Leone and doing the therapy in the clinics and that's the position we're in right now, so we think it may still survive and it may actually happen.

But wait, there's more. 

According to Doctor to Test Ozone Therapy Against Ebola by Nick Tate, NewsMaxHealth, September 24, 2014, the Sierra Leone trip was conducted under the aegis of Rotary International.

Via a November 25 post on, November 24, 2014, here's what Dr. Rowen wrote:

According to a website called ClubRunner, here's the board of the Central Nassau County (New York) Rotary:

11/29/14 UPDATE: Click here for the 2011-2013 IRS 990s for the West Hempstead, NY Rotary Foundation. Dr. Robins is listed as vice president in 2011 and president in 2012.

I have an e-mail in to Elizabeth Minelli who handles media relations at Rotary International's Evanston, IL headquarters and will report the results.

What about the quarantining of members of the ozone treatment project when they returned to the U.S.?

If another reporter doesn't beat me to it, I'll blog a follow-up item about that.

UPDATE THIS AFTERNOON: I just came across this November 7 interview Alex Jones conducted with Robert Rowen MD about his trip to Sierra Leone. Dr. Rowen says he was under quarantine at the time of the interview.

(4:50) Dr. Rowen says he was invited to come to Sierra Leone by the country's president and met with him twice.
(6:30) He discusses being quarantined, but doesn't mention if any  government agencies were involved.
(13:00) Dr. Rowen says the Sierra Leone "foreign minister" wanted ozone treatment for his family. Was he referring to minister of foreign affairs Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara PhD or someone else?


11/26/14 UPDATE: I just came across this interview with Dr. Rowen conducted by Dave Asprey who per his website is the "founder of The Bulletproof Executive, is a Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur who spent 15 years and over $300,000 to hack his own biology." The interview is undated, but apparently was conducted the first week of November. A complete transcription of the interview is posted on Mr. Asprey's website from which I pulled some quotes.

Rowen: I’m on quarantine but I actually didn’t treat Ebola patients, myself.

Asprey: What did you do?

Dr. Rowen: I went there to teach. I went there to teach the doctors in Sierra Leone about ozone with my colleague, friend and colleague, Dr. Howard Robbins [sic]. He pioneered a unique method of ozone delivery that is perfect for Ebola, absolutely perfect. It doesn’t involve contamination. It’s dirt-cheap. We went there to teach it. I was going to go, I put him up to it. I said, “I’m going.” At first he didn’t want to go and then when he thought about it, he said, “I can’t let you get all the credit for this, so, I’m going to go.”

We went together and I was there for a week. He was there for 5 days. We taught. We even met with the President of Sierra Leone. By the way, this was on an invitation from the President of Sierra Leone.

Asprey: Wow.

Rowen: President Koroma. We met twice with him. He actually received the treatment. We prepared talks and lectures before scores of people, especially their doctors. We met with some of their most prominent doctors. One of whom, the President of Sierra Leone Medical Dental Association walked in the door very skeptical...(When she left,) she just melted. She melted. Came in skeptical and melted, and to the point where she came in to receive her own ozone treatments. She did a treatment on me. I let her do one, so she would know how to do it. Everything was cool but the problem was, unbeknownst to us, there was some skullduggery and even though the President wanted this, and it appeared his Chief Advisor wanted it, there were some things happening behind the scenes in the Ministry of Health.

...Asprey: Tell me what the Minister of Health did there but that background is really important.

Rowen: It’s what the Minister of Health didn’t do. Of all people who didn’t come to our lectures, the Minister of Health and his staff didn’t come. Don’t think this wasn’t deliberate. It was....We went through meeting, after meeting, after meeting and finally, on Wednesday, which was the last day that Howard was there, we got to the Ebola czar, Paolo Conte [sic] and it was like pulling teeth to get there.

We got there about 4:30 in the afternoon and he listened to us. We said, “Do you have any questions for us?” We were there with a National hero, Kojo Carew, a physician, whose [sic] a National hero there. He saved a lot of lives during their wars, 10 years ago. He’s an icon. Paola Conte [sic] said to us, “Yes, I have one question. How come this isn’t being used already in the Center?” I mean, here’s the Ebola czar saying, “Why isn’t it being used?” We thought we had final clearance at last.

Howard left that night. Next morning we started off in jubilation to the treatment center. Remember, I didn’t go there to treat Ebola myself. That would have raised great consternations [sic], straight up. I didn’t think I needed to do it. There’s plenty of people to do it. I wanted to teach this treatment. We get to the Ebola center and there’s a containment building that is far enough away that I thought, “Okay.” Then we go into their meeting area where there’s a lot of people, staff, doctors and nurses.

This is not a contaminated area. No one is there in space suits. The doctors that we had trained previously during the week didn’t show up, so we’re ready to train new staff and new doctors, and they’ve got some skepticism but we explain it to them. I show them a You Tube video that I made on their doctors, that’s posted on You Tube. It’s called, Prozolone Comes to Sierra Leone. They saw it and their jaws dropped to the ground. They couldn’t believe the miracles they saw on people they knew.

They lined up for treatment. Prophylactic preventive treatment. They lined up. In the meantime while this was going, a call comes into the army guy, the major whose in charge of this treatment center and it comes from the Deputy Minister of Health and I’m quoting, “If you value your job there will be no ozone treatments there.”

Asprey: Wow.

Dr. Rowen: Wow. That applied to everybody. He then got a follow up call from the Minister of Health, himself, reiterating it. Well, we had already started the process of treating people, doctors and nurses and they were vying for treatment. They were actually competing to get the treatment. They wanted it because they saw it as a means to protect themselves from getting Ebola themselves.

Asprey: What evidence did they receive that ozone has any affect [sic] on Ebola...Can you walk people through the typical IV or rectal, or vaginal, or oral, or the different ways that people take ozone, and then talk about the one you’re using with Ebola?

Rowen: The standard accepted method is called MAH, Major Auto Hemotherapy which I’ve done since 1986. I do a particularly effective form called hyperbaric ozone therapy where we take blood out, into a bottle, pump ozone in under pressure and then we deliver that back. Let me tell you, as far as MAH, that’s the cat’s meow. It is the best. I wouldn’t do it any other way. It is so swift, so efficient, so quick, and it’s effectiveness, in my opinion, is far, far better than other forms of MAH, Major Auto Hemotherapy.

Howard Robbins [sic] pioneered a method that is probably as good. He thinks it actually might be better. That remains to be seen because it’s never been tested out. His method involves giving direct intravenous gaseous ozone. It’s not air, it’s gas, but I don’t your viewers to think that we’re shoving air into people. Air is Nitrogen, 80 percent nitrogen, which wouldn’t be too cool.

Dave: That’s called death.

Rowen: Yes. This is oxygen that has been metabolically active. Yes, you could be getting 30, 60, even more ccs of gas but it’s oxygen which is consumed by your body very, very, quickly Very quickly. He’s pioneered a really cool method of this that doesn’t involve taking blood out. When you’re dealing with Ebola, that’s way superior. It’s also dirt cheap because it only requires butterfly needle and syringe. Yes, there’s other methods. There’s rectal. You may be doing that yourself. Am I right?

Dave: Yes.

Rowen: I do rectal, at home, as well. It is very effective.

...Rowen: We got a call the following day after we were black balled at the (Sierra Leone) Ebola treatment center, the Foreign Minister wanted us to treat his mother who lived in an Ebola area, him and his family for prevention.


11/27/14 UPDATE: I just came across an October 28, 2014 public letter to President Koroma from Drs. Rowen and Robins. Some highlights:

First, please let me say that I (and Dr. Robins) felt very honored to have been requested by you to come to Sierra Leone to bring ozone for Ebola...You should know that in just three weeks of preparation, we received over 32,000 USD in private donations from ozone followers around the world to provide materials and shipping for your people.

Some of your most prominent physicians requested treatment for pain with ozone, for which training Dr. Carew was given freely by me personally in addition to the protocol for Ebola.

...Mr. President. We felt even more honored that you met with us in the Statehouse and again at your personal residence. Our admiration for you went up many folds in that you requested to receive a treatment yourself. That you so trusted us so, and put yourself forward to experience it ahead of your People is a testament to your leadership.

I commend Dr. Eva Roberts, who came to the lecture skeptical, and seeing the science, she turned over completely, requesting intravenous treatment herself, performing one on me, helping instruct the young doctors in their training and then getting knee treatment from me.

On my sixth day we met with Major Palo Conteh, the Ebola chief. After we explained everything to him, he stated, “I have just one question. Why is this not being done as we speak here?” Dr. Robins and I thought we had cleared our last hurdle, getting his approval.

The next day, I traveled to Hastings with Dr. Carew. While training doctors and nurses EAGER to get the treatment themselves for protection and to move ahead with patients, the Major in charge there got a call from the Assistant Minister of Health. She told him, “Your job will be in danger if you permit ozone therapy for anyone there.” Shortly after, a call came from the Minister of Health, who endorsed the order of the Assistant Minister.

I could not believe what I heard, and, admittedly, I exploded in anger before all assembled there. Mr. President, the directive was not only to deny treatment for patients but also to the staff, risking their lives.

...I went directly to the National Television to tell the story. One, Mr. Stephen Ngaugah, was on Val’s show and went on and on about how the government is winning the Ebola war...He then went on to castigate me, an invited guest of His Excellency, to come and save lives with ozone. He told me I should stay in America to treat our Ebola patients here rather than “experiment on Africans like guinea pigs.” Mr. President. I will tell you I was very restrained and measured in my response to this horrible insult, directed not only to me, but also to you, the one who invited me. I believe his comment made you to look like a fool.

...Now the next morning at about 8:30 am, Dr. Carew got a call from the Foreign Minister. It seems he was worried about his mother up north in an Ebola area. He wanted prophylactic treatment for her and the whole family.

...At this time, your ministers will not get treatment with equipment paid for to prove ozone therapy for Ebola victims. I cannot blame Dr. Carew for now deciding to take the project to Liberia. I would do the same thing.

Via an October 26 Facebook post by Dr. Rowen:

(The) disrespect showed me, an invited guest of the President, by the NERC (National Ebola Recovery Commission) director on the televised show...I wanted to tell the director, Mr. Stephen Ngaugah (pronounced gouger) that I believed he was involved in Crimes Against Humanity. I was fearful if I did that there could be political repercussions and I’d be held responsible. So I stopped just short. However, I did put that term in the minds of everyone I met, and sent a departure letter to the President’s key advisor who arranged the invitation. I will post that email on this page.
...Dr. (Kojo) Carew was on national radio tonight, broadcast all through the country. He did use the term, and told his people that Ngaugh, the sinister man who accused me of coming to experiment on Africans, should be thrown in prison for CRIMSAGAINST [sic] HUMANITY. 

Actually, I learned a lot about this man today. He was a nothing living abroad who earned a living as a taxi driver. The ebola epidemic created financial opportunity for him. He muscled his way into the head position of NERC and demanded a 10,000 USD per month salary.

Via Google I didn't locate a NERC director named "Stephen Ngaugah," however I did locate NERC Director Stephen Gaojia.

This item has been updated and revised for clarity.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

SCOOP: Carol Spizzirri named as defendant in Annabel Melongo's federal civil rights lawsuit

Carol Jean Spizzirri -- whose once high-flying, politically-connected Save-A-Life Foundation nonprofit is now under investigation by the IL Attorney General -- has been named as a defendant in a sweeping federal civil rights lawsuit filed by attorney Jennifer Bonjean on behalf of her client Annabel Melongo

For those interested in political corruption and abuse of the legal system by public officials, the 26-page complaint, filed November 5 in U.S. District Court in Chicago, makes for lively reading.

Click here to download a copy or page down to view.

Via the San Diego Reader

To read about the sordid history of Spizzirri (who per the complaint, now lives in San Marcos, California) and her tainted organization, don't miss Where Did the Save-A-Life Money Go? by Don Bauder, San Diego Reader, November 17, 2010.

A few weeks ago, the office of the IL Attorney General confirmed to me in writing that their investigation of SALF, which started in July 2010, is ongoing.

For more details, see Illinois senator seeks answers on possible $9 million misappropriation by Erin Murphy, Dubuque Telegraph Herald, June 26, 2013.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Against the recommendations of the Heart Association and Red Cross, the Dallas-area American College of Emergency Physicians recommends doing "the Heimlich" on UNCONSCIOUS choking victims -- I can't get answers from ACEP, so I've asked the Texas health commisioner for help

Via Facts About ACEP and Emergency Medicine:
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the oldest and largest national medical specialty organization representing physicians who practice emergency medicine. With more than 32,000 members, ACEP is the leading continuing education source for emergency physicians and the primary information resource on developments in the specialty.

...The College continually monitors trends in the health care environment and analyzes issues affecting emergency physicians and their patients.
So why does ACEP recommend a choking rescue treatment that is not recommended by the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, or the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR)?

The treatment?

Performing the Heimlich maneuver on unconscious choking victims.

Via ACEP's website and their booklet entitled What To Do in a Medical Emergency:

My layman's understanding is that the Heimlich maneuver (aka abdominal thrust) creates an artificial cough so that a choking victim may cough out a solid foreign body stuck in their throat.

But if you're unconscious, you can't cough, right?

Also, and I may have missed something, to my knowledge there is no published research that supports the treatment.

But I have no medical training and I'm just an amateur researcher.

If a prominent emergency medicine organization like ACEP recommends a medical treatment, presumably they have their reasons.

In an attempt to learn those reasons, for the past week I've sent multiple e-mails to ACEP representatives at their Dallas headquarters trying to get answers to these questions:
1) Approximately when did ACEP begin recommending abdominal thrusts (the Heimlich maneuver) as an effective treatment for unconscious choking victims?

2) Please explain the basis for that treatment recommendation, including citations to relevant published research.
I've gotten multiple confirmations of receipt, but not even a courtesy reply.

Rather than chase the organization, today I sent this letter to the commissioner of the Texas health commissioner requesting that he ask ACEP to answer my questions. (Click here to download a copy.)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Why I'm not participating in Jason Schmidt's dubious documentary project about my father [Part V]: Schmidt refused to answer my questions about Kickstarter fundraising claims

Jason Schmidt (large photo) and The Maneuver's production team: his wife Ellen Kitchen Schmidt (top right) and presumably Morry Galonoy, Charlotte Fuller, Helen Russell, April Thibeault. Sam Rider, Dennis Yuen, Matt Israel, Shane Rettig, and Jason's brother Justin Schmidt. (source)

Per my previous four items in this series, a July Kickstarter campaign raised about $32,000 to fund The Maneuver: The Inside Story of Dr. Henry Heimlich, a proposed documentary film about my father's life and career.

Jason Schmidt is a freelance film editor based in New York City who's hoping to make his directorial debut with the project.

Recently I e-mailed Mr. Schmidt a handful of fair questions regarding false and/or dubious claims in the Kickstarter campaign, and if he intended to inform the 298 donors who funded his project.

He refused to answer any of my questions.

Briefly, the Kickstarter fund raising page included the false claim that actress Halle Berry was saved from choking by "the Heimlich" -- she denied it in a recent Hollywood Reporter expose -- and other questionable claims that suggest the filmmakers may not have a basic grasp of the material.

Then there's an "original retro-style artwork" by South Carolina artist Margaret Mattox that was offered as a premium to donors.

On the left is Ms. Mattox's artwork, flipped horizontally. On the right is a copyrighted 1979 illustration by the late Frank Netter MD.

Here's my exchange with Mr. Schmidt -- his reply's at the top. (Click here to download a copy.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another fine mess at the CDC: Joint letter asks Congressmen Rob Woodall & Lacy Clay for answers re: institutional cover-up involving agency director Thomas Frieden

Thomas Frieden MD MPH (source)

Today former IL congressional candidate Tim Bagwell PhD (who now lives in St. Louis) and I asked our congressmen, Reps. Lacy Clay (D-MO) and Rob Woodall (R-GA), to help us get answers regarding an institutional cover-up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that involves CDC Director Thomas Frieden MD MPH.

Our thoroughly-documented letter requested that Reps. Clay and Woodall ask Dr. Frieden to account for millions of tax dollars the agency awarded to the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF).

As Sidebar readers know, SALF was a politically-connected Chicago nonprofit that's been the subject of dozens of media exposes and is reportedly under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General for the "possible $9 million misappropriation" of federal and state tax dollars.

Our letter also asked why CDC executive Douglas R. Browne was permitted to moonlight as SALF's corporate treasurer while the agency was funneling millions to the group.

Here's the big question we asked Reps. Clay and Woodall:
Would you please ask Dr. Frieden to provide you with a thorough accounting of how the $3,335,578 awarded to SALF was spent? That should present no difficulty for him since SALF's corporate treasurer Douglas Browne, still a CDC employee, should be able to provide him with the records.
Click here to download a copy of our letter.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Why I'm not participating in Jason Schmidt's dubious documentary project about my father [Part IV]: False and questionable claims made in Kickstarter fundraising campaign

On the left is Margaret Mattox's artwork, flipped horizontally; on the right is Dr. Frank Netter's 1979 illustration

In part I, I reported that I refused to participate in a shoestring budget documentary project about my father being made by freelance video editor Jason Schmidt because he wrote me that was willing to accept funding from my father, his "sympathetic associates," and from "deep-pocketed patrons/benefactors" I might steer to him.

In part II, I reported that my father's press agent, Melinda Zemper, wrote me that she issued a press release hyping the project and helped fund it via Kickstarter because she's personal friends with Schmidt whom she called "an ethical, competent journalist."

In part III, I reported about "original retro-style artwork" by South Carolina artist Margaret Mattox offered as a premium to Kickstarter donors. Mattox's drawing of a man performing the Heimlich maneuver bears a striking resemblance to a 1979 work by the renowned medical illustrator, Frank Netter MD. (Original? Not so much. Retro? Definitely.)

The Kickstarter campaign raised about $32,000 in July.

It also raised questions about the responsibility of Kickstarter recipients to those who fund their projects.

The fund raising pitch stresses that the filmmakers "believe in this story."

That claim is undermined by this example that suggests Schmidt may not even have a grasp of the basic material.

In fact, the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross incorporated the Heimlich into their choking rescue guidelines in 1976, only two years after my father introduced the treatment.

By any measure that's a remarkably rapid acceptance for any new medical treatment.

It's also a milestone that anyone who had done even cursory research into the history of the Heimlich maneuver would know.

Via my father's recent memoir:
(In 1976, the Red Cross) changed its policies, advocating that people use both back slaps and what it called “abdominal thrusts.” By “abdominal thrust,” the organization meant the Heimlich Maneuver.
In a recent e-mail, I asked Schmidt which of "the biggest organizations in the medical establishment" his fund raising pitch was referring to.

Here's his non-answer:
I'd be happy to look over any information you have regarding that subject.
In other words, Schmidt learns from yours truly that his project may have used a false claim to raise funds. In response, he provides no information to back up his project's claim. Instead, this so-called "ethical, competent journalist" asks me to send him information.

If that's how much Schmidt "believes in this story," Melinda Zemper may want to ask her friend for a refund.

Further, the Kickstarter campaign offered this premium:

Call me a stickler-in-the-mud, but I have a problem with the film having a business relationship with my father.

But at the moment that's a secondary point.

My main point is that Schmidt apparently hasn't read my father's book. If he had, wouldn't he have known that the treatment was almost immediately accepted "by the biggest organizations in the medical establishment"?

Here's a fair and perhaps loaded question.

After a Kickstarter campaign ends, if the recipients learn that the campaign included false information, should they inform donors?

The above example may be a case in point.

The following definitely is.

Here's a screen shot of information prominently posted near the top of the Kickstarter page.

As Sidebar readers know, via Seth Abramovitch's scorching August 14 Hollywood Reporter report, How Dr. Heimlich Maneuvered Hollywood Into Backing His Dangerous AIDS "Cure," actress Halle Berry has denied the claim.

Are the "collection of talented colleagues and friends" and family members making the film (see below) aware of the Hollywood Reporter article?

If they read their own Facebook page, they are.

If they've read the THR story -- and I think's safe to assume Schmidt did -- then they're aware that the Halle Berry claim on their Kickstarter page is apparently a lie.

So should their Kickstarter page be corrected?

And should donors be made aware of the false claims? Or is Kickstarter a "caveat emptor" operation?

I'll start asking questions and will report the results.

Jason Schmidt (large photo), his wife Ellen Kitchen Schmidt (top right) and presumably Morry Galonoy, Charlotte Fuller, Helen Russell, April Thibeault. Sam Rider, Dennis Yuen, Matt Israel, Shane Rettig, and Jason's brother Justin Schmidt. ("Presumably" because the photo didn't have a cut line, but the names are listed here.)

Part V: Jason Schmidt refuses to answer my questions about false and/or problematic claims in his project's Kickstarter funding campaign