Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Fact-checking my sister, author & former journalist Janet Heimlich of Austin, TX


Via the posted comments under Detainee dies after choking on food in Saitama police station cell, Japan Today, November 5, 2018

Janet Heimlich Nov. 8 05:15 pm JST

My father, Dr. Henry Heimlich, invented the Heimlich maneuver. He passed away in 2016. He would have been distraught to hear of this case, not only because no one attempted to save the man with the Heimlich maneuver but because they used back blows, which, unsurprisingly were unsuccessful. Unlike the American Heart Association, the Red Cross tells people to use back blows as a first response for choking. The say to administer 5 back blows and then 5 Heimlich maneuvers (or "abdominal thrusts.") The trouble is, the Red Cross has never produced evidence that shows back blows are superior to the Heimlich maneuver, while the maneuver saves people's lives every day, according to press reports. One study shows that back blows can drive an object deeper into the throat. Furthermore, with the Red Cross focusing so much on back blows, no one learns that they can also use the Heimlich maneuver to save yourself (as someone above pointed out) or an unconscious or heavy person (you do that lying down). You can't use back blows to accomplish either of those things. The Red Cross should take this life-and-death matter more seriously and go back to teaching people to first use the Heimlich maneuver when someone is choking. Since a person can die in 4 minutes, seconds count.

Peter M. Heimlich Nov. 9 01:12 am JST

I caught a factual error and a half-truth in my sister Janet Heimlich's post. I've also posted links to a first-rate 2009 Australian Broadcasting documentary re: the history of our father's namesake anti-choking treatment and a thought-provoking recent blog item by a U.S. cardiologist.

The American Heart Association (and most first aid agencies worldwide) recommend back blows as an effective treatment for responding to a choking emergency. More via this page on my website http://tinyurl.com/hnuxyxs "One study shows that back blows can drive an object deeper into the throat."

Janet -- a former journalist who edited our dad's 2014 memoir http://tinyurl.com/yau8h6nd -- is presumably referring to the now-tainted study by the late Richard Day L. MD et al of Yale published by the journal Pediatrics in 1982.

Research by my wife Karen M. Shulman and me revealed that our dad, the late Henry J. Heimlich MD, clandestinely funded the study.

Prior to 2005, AHA guidelines included citations of the Day study. That year I shared our research with Jerry Potts, PhD, Director of Science at the AHA's ECC Programs. The citation has not appeared in subsequent AHA guidelines.

Because of the Yale connection, I also shared our research with veteran medical reporter Abram Katz at the New Haven Register which resulted in this 10/23/06 report http://tinyurl.com/zvesjs9

Also see this 6/7/82 thank-you letter from dad to Dr. Day which I obtained from the Yale archives http://tinyurl.com/j3n8jbk "The Heimlich manoeuvre" by Aviva Ziegler, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 7/27/09 http://tinyurl.com/y92fwr6w "A Call To Reconsider The Heimlich Experiment: Let’s Scientifically Determine The Best Approach To Choking Victims" by Anthony Pearson MD, The Skeptical Cardiologist (Dr. Pearson's blog), 8/15/18 http://tinyurl.com/ybnxkqvs 

BelCanto Nov. 9 12:26 pm JST

I'm liking where this comment section is going! 

Peter M. Heimlich Nov. 13 10:51 am JST

Via European Resuscitation Council Guidelines, Resuscitation 95 (2015) 1–80 http://goo.gl/RpE76u

...The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR, www.ilcor.org) includes representatives from the American Heart Association (AHA), the European Resuscitation Council (ERC), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC), the Australian and New Zealand Committee on Resuscitation (ANZCOR), the Resuscitation Council of Southern Africa (RCSA), the Inter-American Heart Foundation (IAHF), and the Resuscitation Council of Asia (RCA).

...Treatment for severe airway obstruction

For conscious adults and children over one year of age with complete FBAO [Foreign Body Airway Obstruction], case reports have demonstrated the effectiveness of back blows or ‘slaps’, abdominal thrusts and chest thrusts. The likelihood of success is increased when combinations of back blows or slaps, and abdominal and chest thrusts are used.