Saturday, February 24, 2018

My complaint against Akron Fire Department EMS officer who instructed FOX-TV Cleveland audience not to worry about breaking a baby's bones when responding to a choking emergency


February 21, 2018

Stacey Doty
Employment and Selection Manager
Department of Human Resources
The City of Akron, OH

Dear Ms. Doty:

This is a complaint re: questionable, possibly harmful medical recommendations made by Joseph Shumaker, EMS Lieutenant at your city's fire department. I'm requesting that your office investigate the following
and to provide me with a determination.

Re: my February 14 blog item, Akron Fire Dept. EMS trainer re: responding to choking infants: Don't worry about breaking the baby's bones or cracking its ribs -- and a question for criminal attorneys, the following is from an interview that Lt. Shumaker, representing your city, gave to reporter Adrienne Dipiazza in a news report that aired February 13 on Cleveland's
FOX 8, How to save a life: Help someone who is choking:
DiPiazza: (The Akron Fire Department's Lt. Joe) Shumaker says don’t be afraid of hurting the baby, and forceful motions are the only thing that will help them breathe again.

Shumaker: “Can you cause some injury? Can you break a bone? Can you crack a rib? Perhaps, but in the end run the child will be breathing which is what we want as a result,” he said.
Per my website, in 2002 my wife and I started researching the career of my father, the late Henry J. Heimlich MD of Cincinnati, and the history of his namesake anti-choking maneuver. Since 2003 our work and my outreach to journalists has resulted in scores of mainstream print and broadcast media reports. We have never come across recommendations remotely similar to Lt. Shumaker's.

Further, Lt. Shumaker's recommendations do not appear in the guidelines of the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the American Academy of Pediatrics, or, to my knowledge, any other legitimate source of lifesaving first aid information. Further, I'd be surprised if his recommendations are part of your city's EMS training guidelines or those of any government agency anywhere in the United States.

To the best of my knowledge, Lt. Shumaker appears to have pulled his recommendations out of thin air. If that's the case, he provided unsubstantiated medical information to a reporter. More seriously, I'm concerned that his recommendations may result in serious injuries to babies or worse.

After publishing my blog item, I brought these concerns to the offices of Fire Chief Clarence Tucker and Mayor Dan Horrigan. The former did not respond to my questions and Ellen Lander Nischt, Mayor Horrigan's press secretary, told me that her office stands behind Lt. Shumaker's recommendations. I consider those responses to be unacceptable, hence this complaint.

In order to address the matter, this is to request that you obtain and review all relevant training materials and provide me with any documentation that supports Lt. Shumaker's recommendations. In the event no such documentation exists, this is to request that your office take appropriate action.

Thank you for your time/consideration and I look forward to your reply.


Peter M. Heimlich
Peachtree Corners, Georgia 30096 USA
ph: (208)474-7283

cc: Donald Rice, Director of Human Resources

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Re: $2 million investment scheme, North Carolina Secretary of State's Securities Division issues temporary cease & desist order to Concord company selling Dechoker anti-choking device -- meanwhile the company's UK division claims the device has saved 14 lives(!)

Via the North Carolina Secretary of State's Securities Division:
On February 15, 2018, the Securities Division of the North Carolina Department of Secretary of State issued a Temporary Cease and Desist Order to Dechoker, LLC, Alan Carver, Russell Wadell, Mark Shores and Mark Honeycutt (the “Dechoker Respondents”). The Temporary Cease and Desist Order found that the Dechoker Respondents were not registered as dealers or salesmen of securities in North Carolina and offered and sold interests in Dechoker, LLC; these activities are in violation of the North Carolina Securities Act. The Temporary Cease and Desist Order ordered Dechoker Respondents to cease and desist offering unregistered securities and acting as securities dealers and/or salesmen in North Carolina while not registered to do so. The Temporary Cease and Desist Order gives the Dechoker Respondents thirty (30) business days in which to request a hearing. If no such request is made during that time, the Temporary Cease and Desist Order shall become final. Click here to view the Temporary Order.
According to the order (posted at the end of this item):

Dechoker, LLC, which "claims to sell a medical device that can remove an obstruction from a person’s airway," has a principal place of business in Trinity, Florida.

According to the Form K-1s produced by Respondents, more than 80 people have made combined investments of more than $2 million in Dechoker, LLC since 2010. According to those Form K-1s, more than 60 of these investors are residents of North Carolina.

Dechoker LLC maintains a business office and warehouse in Concord, North Carolina, however, the company has not applied for and has never been granted a certificate of authority to do business in North Carolina.

Alan Carver lives in Pasco County, Florida and/or Weld County, Colorado and is the incorporator, registered agent, and manager/member of Dechoker, LLC.
Russell Wadell, Mark Shores, and Mark Honeycutt are identified as executive officers of Dechoker, LLC. All live in Rowan County, NC.

Via the July 11, 2016 Wall Street Journal, published about six months before my dad died: 
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.
...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...“Any action that delays use of the Heimlich maneuver or complicates the rescue can be deadly.”
Meanwhile in the UK, the Dechoker is making inroads -- and the London-based company director claims the device has saved quite a few lives.

Check out this unsigned item published in Care Home Professional dated February 15, 2018 -- coincidentally the date of the North Carolina order -- about a chain of  nursing homes based in Altrincham, near Manchester: New Care is first in UK to install life-saving Dechoker across all homes (emphasis added):
Fast-growing care home operator New Care has emphasised its commitment to safety by becoming the first care home group in the UK to install the revolutionary Dechoker anti-choking device in all its care centres.

...Chief operating officer at New Care, Cath Fairhurst, commented: “The comfort and safety of our residents is of the utmost importance to us, and when we heard about Dechoker we knew that it would be the right decision to provide it in all of our homes. It is now fully operational in all three care centres and will be provided as a company standard in every new one.”

Director for Dechoker UK, Matt Oakley, added: “Dechoker has already saved 14 lives and we are delighted that New Care took the decision to install our devices in all of their homes..."
Finally, Sidebar readers may remember this gramatically-inconsistent, unedited e-mail I received last summer when I reported about false claims that Mr. Carver's device was being used to protect the presidents of the United States and Turkey in the event of a choking emergency:
From: Alan Carver <>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2017 05:55:30 -0600
Subject: Re: Blogger investigation
To: "Peter M. Heimlich" <>, Bayram Alkaya <>,
Sean Pittman <>


They are not going to tell you anything with the way you handled this. I am very disappointed with you professionalism. There is a lot going on in Turkey, you put people at risk. Please just ask your questions and keep you slander to your self. I did not know you conducted your self like this. I have plans to deal with this, we are looking at our options. You are a fraud. Your daddy, no matter what you said about him, he saved thousands of life!! I bet you haven't saved one! You are not even in a position to give medical advice. You named your self right " Medfruad" I am sure you will edit this comment like you did 2 weeks ago. Don't contact me again until you grow up!

This item has been updated.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Akron Fire Dept. EMS trainer re: responding to choking infants: Don't worry about breaking the baby's bones or cracking its ribs -- and a question for criminal attorneys

Clip via How to save a life: Help someone who is choking by Adrienne DiPiazza, FOX 8 News Cleveland, February 13, 2018:

Transcript at about time stamp :35:
DiPiazza: (The Akron Fire Department's Lt. Joe) Shumaker says don’t be afraid of hurting the baby, and forceful motions are the only thing that will help them breathe again.

Shumaker: “Can you cause some injury? Can you break a bone? Can you crack a rib? Perhaps, but in the end run the child will be breathing which is what we want as a result,” he said.
I have an inquiry in to the Akron Fire Department and will report the results.

Tangentially related, one of my research interests is tracking child abuse cases involving the alleged use of the Heimlich maneuver as an alibi.

I've compiled a number of media reports in which defendants claimed that severe or fatal injuries sustained by a baby or child in their care resulted from the adult supposedly responding to a choking emergency.

I shared my research with reporter Justin Strawser at the Sunbury, PA Daily Item who reported this November 13, 2015 story, Suspects often claim abuse injuries stem from CPR, Heimlich effort.

Here's a question for any criminal attorneys reading this: Can Lt. Shumaker's advice benefit a defendant in such a case?

Click here to e-mail me.