Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Filed yesterday, Carol Spizzirri's response to plaintiff's complaint in Melongo v. Spizzirri et al

Click here for plaintiff Annabel Melongo's November 15, 2014 Second Amended Complaint and other key case documents.

Click here for media reports about the Melongo case.

Click here for media reports about Carol Spizzirri and the Save-A-Life Foundation.

Monday, August 10, 2015

NBC Today Show reports NYC doc's wrong, possibly dangerous medical recommendations -- and no one will clean up the mess

Check out this clip from an NBC Today Show segment, How to save the life of someone who's choking by reporter Jeff Rossen and producer Jovanna Billington -- the web page says July 17, 2015, but it aired Tuesday July 14th:

Long story short, Dr. Holly Andersen's claim about back blows is contradicted by the recommendations of the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association.

For years, along with most of the world's first aid organizations, the ARC and AHA have recommended back blows as an effective treatment for responding to a choking emergency.

Further, as widely reported, for about a decade the ARC has recommend back blows as the first treatment response:

As for her claim that rescuers should perform a Heimlich maneuver using one arm, I've been researching my father's career for over a decade and I've never heard of that.

I don't know where she came up with those recommendations, but since she provided medical information on national TV that was wrong and could conceivably harm kids and adults, I assumed Dr. Andersen and NBC would want to correct the errors.

So I shared the above information with New York Presbyterian Hospital's media department, and asked them to ask Dr. Andersen if she thought NBC should correct the errors.

Here's their reply:
From: Jacqueline Shutack
Subject: Re: [PR-NYP] blogger inquiry
Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2015 11:44:01 +0000

Hi Peter.

Dr. Anderson is unavailable to comment.


Jackie Shutack Wong
Media Associate
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
Stephen J. Corwin MD (source)

I then sent a couple of courteous e-mails to Dr. Anderson and to Stephen J. Corwin MD, the hospital's CEO, asking if they wanted to comment.

I received multiple confirmations of receipt from both, but no other communications, so presumably their version of the Hippocratic Oath is, "First, admit no mistakes."

As for NBC, I sent self-described National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen multiple courteous, well-documented e-mails explaining that his report included false and questionable medical recommendations.

Although each time I received prompt confirmations of receipt -- here's the most recent -- I received no further communications from him.


Since Rossen was apparently hiding under his desk, I sent a courteous, well-documented e-mail to NBC News Division head Andrew Lack, asking him to jump in.

Page down to read that e-mail, but here are some pulls:
(If Dr. Andersen's) going to appear on national TV as an expert, it's her responsibility to know what she's talking about and it's apparent she failed to adequately prepare. So why give her a pass, meanwhile leaving your audience with incorrect information?
...Based on my experience, if good journalists make an error, they welcome publishing corrections for at least two reasons. One, they want to get it right because they have pride in the accuracy of their reporting. Two, they care about maintaining their audience's trust. Based on Mr. Rossen's silence, apparently none of that matters to him, hence this outreach.
I received this confirmation of receipt but no further communication.

But wait, there's more.

Rossen and Billington apparently weren't even paying attention to their own story.

If they had, shouldn't they have noticed this intro clip in the piece?

It shows an officer responding to a choking three-year-old and performing -- yep --a series of back blows, thereby, according to Rossen, "saving the boy's life."

Finally, this historical tie-in, a brief interview with retired Today Show weatherman Frank Field in which explains his crusade to promote the Heimlich maneuver shortly after my father introduced the treatment in 1974: