Wednesday, July 13, 2016

In Wall Street Journal article about anti-choking devices, (via my brother Phil Heimlich) my father says "any action that delays" his namesake maneuver "can be deadly" -- plus video of my 96-year-old pa conducting the Cornell band

My brother Phil Heimlich with our father

Via Can New Devices Match Heimlich to Stop Choking? LifeVac and Dechoker pose alternative to abdominal thrusts -- LifeVac and Dechoker pose alternative to abdominal thrusts by Laura Johannes, Wall Street Journal,
Two new easy-to-use devices work like plungers to suck out obstructions in the airway, providing another option if standard treatment—such as abdominal thrusts developed in 1974 by Henry Heimlich—fail to clear the airway, say the companies who sell them.

...Both the Dechoker, $89.95, and the LifeVac, $69.95, have a plastic mask that provides a seal over the mouth and nose while suction is provided. The Dechoker looks like a large syringe, while the LifeVac’s plunger is shaped like a small accordion.[Page down for graphics.]

...Skeptics include Dr. Heimlich, now 96. Such a device may not be handy in the “unexpected instance that a person chokes,” Dr. Heimlich, a retired thoracic surgeon from Cincinnati, says in a statement released by his son, Phil Heimlich. “Any action that delays use of the Heimlich maneuver or complicates the rescue can be deadly.”
Any action that delays "the Heimlich"?

Does that include backblows, chest thrusts and finger sweeps?

In any event, in recent months I've enjoyed some friendly correspondence with LifeVac inventor Arthur Lih and Christopher Kellogg, Dechoker's Chief Operating Officer, so I e-mailed them invitations to respond to my father's statement.

Mr. Lih declined. I haven't received a reply from Mr. Kellogg.

By the way, I'm pleased to learn that my father has apparently recovered from an unspecified "medical problem" which, according to my brother, recently prevented him from answering questions from a Cincinnati reporter.

Finally, apropos of nothing except that I've been wanting to blog it, here's a video of my father, accompanied by my sister Janet Heimlich and a walker, conducting the Cornell Big Red Alumni band on June 11, 2016

The performance happened about two weeks after -- according to CNN reporter David Shortell -- my father "sprang into action" in the dining room of a Cincinnati assisted living community to perform his namesake maneuver on an 87-year-old woman sitting next to him.

According to Guardian reporter Joanna Walters' story about the alleged incident, the woman, Patty Gill Ris, claimed she had been choking on a piece of hamburger, but my father claimed it was "a piece of food with some bone in it."