On Nov. 19, the
University of Cincinnati received one of five inquiry
letters sent to organizations that could be linked to
an offshore, potentially controversial experiment.
Peter Heimlich, son of
Henry Heimlich - famous for the Heimlich Maneuver
choking rescue treatment - sent the inquiry
letters in hopes of obtaining more information on the
experiment, which was performed on children in
Barbados, according to a study published in the West Indian
Medical Journal in 2005.
...The study tested whether or
not a modified version of the Heimlich Maneuver could
stop an acute asthma attack or treat asthma symptoms
without contemporary treatment...The 67 children who
participated were between the ages of six and 16.
“Since at least 1996,
based on dubious evidence, my father has claimed that
the Heimlich Maneuver can stop asthma attacks, but
asthma experts have expressed strong doubts,” Peter
Heimlich said. “For example, in 2005, Loren
Greenway, administrative director of respiratory and
pulmonary medicine for Intermountain Health Care in
Salt Lake City, told a reporter that using the
Heimlich maneuver in an acute asthmatic condition …
could actually kill somebody.”
are being raised about an asthma study in Barbados
in 2002, involving children and using a modified
version of the Heimlich manoeuvre.
Peter Heimlich, son of Dr. Henry Heimlich, who made
famous the life-saving technique used on choking
victims, has been investigating the Barbados study
with a view to finding out if legal and ethical
guidelines were followed.
...The Barbados study was conducted by a team of
researchers led by respected paediatrician,
Professor Anne St. John.
In an email to this newspaper, (Dr. St. John)
stated...that the Ministry of Health was carrying
out an investigation into the matter, given
...(Peter Heimlich) has written to Minister of
Health Donville Inniss and officials at the Queen
Elizabeth Hospital, enquiring about the study. He
charged that he had evidence that his father, whose
work has been discredited, contributed US$1000 to
the Barbados study.
Of the Barbados study, he asked: “Why did the
researchers think this was a good idea? And who
arranged, funded and conducted the study?”
He said he had evidence that in 1999 his father
attempted to conduct a similar asthma study at
Cincinnati’s Deaconess Hospital, but had been turned
down by the hospital’s Institutional Review Board
(IRB). ...(Dr. St.
John) said that “not one of the subjects in the
study suffered any fatality.”
the Deceiver? A
controversial figure interviews a top-selling
Milwaukee author by Matt Hrodey,
Milwaukee Magazine, January 7, 2012
Heimlich, After the Maneuver Limelight by
Lindsay Abrams, The Atlantic, March 11, 2013
Son of Henry Heimlich questions UCLA researchers’
involvement in his father’s controversial
malariotherapy study by Naheed Rajwani and
Alessandra Daskalakis, The Daily Bruin, May 6, 2013
Study by Shawn Cumberbatch, Barbados
Today, August 7, 2013.
Ministry of Health is officially probing the
existence of a controversial asthma study
purportedly done in Barbados and involving a
famous American physician.
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
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.
wish to acknowledged receipt of your
correspondence and inform you that the matter is
being investigated,” Springer said in his July 10
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."
Louis University defends Chinese malaria
research linked to discredited AIDS study
by Alan Scher Zagier, Associated Press, August 21,
Louis University is vigorously defending a research
partnership with a Chinese scientist whose work on a
study that intentionally infected AIDS patients with
malaria was roundly condemned by public health
Louis University Under Fire for Work with Doctor
Who Infected AIDS Patients with Malaria by
Sam Levin, Riverfront Times, September 9, 2013
..."These experiments would never be permitted
in the U.S. and other countries because they violate
laws protecting the rights of humans used in medical
research," (Peter Heimlich) said, referring to a
2003 internal inquiry by the University of
California-Los Angeles after one of its scientists
was linked to Heimlich's work abroad. "When I wrote
to Father Biondi, I assumed SLU was unaware of Dr.
Chen's malariotherapy history and that the school
would be concerned. When I received Dr. Tait's
letter, I was surprised to learn that the university
had no interest."
University spokeswoman Nancy Solomon declined an
Associated Press request to interview Tait and the
two university researchers who oversee its global
health research center, a pair of former Pfizer Inc.
drug discovery scientists. Both Chen and the Chinese
research center — the equivalent of the National
Science Foundation in this country - did not
immediately respond to interview requests Wednesday.
With specific citations, (Peter)
Heimlich writes in an e-mail to Daily RFT:
Henry Heimlich: At
94, Cincinnati's famous, polarizing doctor still
working to shape his legacy by Lucy May,
WCPO-Digital, February 9, 2014:
The "malariotherapy" experiments in
China, conducted for over a decade by Dr. Chen in
conjunction with Cincinnati's Heimlich Institute,
have been called "atrocities" by the World Health
Organization. Medical experts have condemned the
work as "charlatanism of the highest order."
Research subjects included prisoners who were
controlled by hired guards. In one case, a woman
with full-blown AIDS, suffering from pneumonia and
hooked up to oxygen, was infected with malaria.
...SLU's school of medicine was awarded a $566,640
National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant, to
"identify novel antimalarial drug targets and
compound classes that kill the parasitic
microorganism that causes malaria, which afflicts
more than one billion people and kills about 1
million annually." A spokeswoman confirms to Daily
RFT that this grant is part of the GIBH project.
are U.S. tax dollars funding research by a doctor
responsible for conducting what a World Health
Organization report called medical 'atrocities?'"
(Peter) Heimlich says in an e-mail to Daily RFT
regarding the NIH grant.
Heimlich has spoken publicly many times
about how a Chinese soldier dying in his arms
inspired his invention of the Heimlich Chest Drain
Valve years later. He told WCPO he trained Chinese
soldiers to form their first-ever medical corps for
the guerilla army, an account repeated in his book.
Heimlich’s final maneuver: detailing his
controversial life by Deborah Kotz, Boston
Globe, February 7, 2014:
Webster said he served as assistant to “Doc
Heimlich” at Camp 4. Webster said he doesn’t recall
the dying soldier or any medical corps training,
although he said there were a few weeks where the
men’s service there did not overlap.
really can’t believe any of the stories the veterans
tell you,” said Webster, who is 93 and lives in
Vermont. “The Chinese soldiers never seriously
told WCPO detailed stories of how Heimlich treated
the Chinese and life at the camp.
said he doesn’t remember Webster and questioned
whether the two men actually served together.
doesn’t mean anything to me at all,” Heimlich said.
He’s been called a “fraud” by his son
Peter and criticized by many in the medical
Henry Heimlich: Letter accuses famed doctor of
being 'dishonest' in his new memoir
by Lucy May, WCPO-Digital, February 11, 2014. The
complete story's behind a paywall. Click
here to read Joy Patrick's letter via my
February 11 blog item that broke the story:
same day Dr. Henry Heimlich’s new memoir was
released nationwide, an ex-wife of an old colleague
has accused the famous doctor of being “dishonest
and unjust” in the book.
autobiography tells story of the man behind the
Heimlich maneuver by Chris Boyette, CNN,
February 12, 2014:
Joy Patrick, whose ex-husband was the
late Dr. Edward Patrick, wrote in a letter to
Heimlich that she was “livid” when she found out
Heimlich’s book “includes no mention of Edward.”
“I can only assume that you have no idea of the
pain this causes me and my children, especially…the
beautiful son and daughter I had with Edward,” she
For years before his death in 2009,
Patrick said he was the co-developer of the Heimlich
Maneuver and hadn’t received credit publicly.
Heimlich has argued his maneuver can be
used for resuscitating drowning victims and for both
acute and preventive treatment of asthma.
Heimlich maneuver namesake pens autobiography by Lisa
Cornwell, Associated Press, February 17, 2014:
Red Cross does not support using the maneuver for
drowning. (Even for someone who's choking, the
agency's first-aid procedure recommends first
doing five back slaps and then five Heimlich
abdominal thrusts.) Other experts have noted cases
where performing the Heimlich Maneuver on a drowning victim did
As for asthma,
medical experts have long questioned the
maneuver's effectiveness as a treatment. In an article
published in Modern Medicine in 1997,
doctors noted that asthma is a disease of chronic
inflammation; while the Heimlich Maneuver may help
clear mucous plugs that form in the lungs, it
won't treat the inflammation that causes an
attack. Only medication can do that.
Heimlich teamed up with local doctors to test
another one of his theories: that malaria can be
used to treat chronic Lyme disease, cancer and
HIV. Put simply, Heimlich believes purposefully injecting patients
with the deadly disease and letting it go
untreated for a few weeks will strengthen
patients' immune systems.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention opposes
malarial therapy, and many medical experts have
criticized Heimlich's testing methods, including
his testing on human patients.
son, Peter Heimlich, writes a blog,
on which he has spent years trying to draw
attention to his father's "wide-ranging, unseen
history of fraud."
Calling it a
"family issue," Heimlich doesn't talk about his
son, but says there is evidence to back up all his
has disputed his father's account that JAMA named
the medical procedure after him. In response CNN
contacted JAMA, but the journal was unable to
verify or discount either Heimlich's claim.
now lives in an assisted-living facility but
responds to emails and letters about his work and
makes guest appearances with the Heimlich Heroes
program. The program designed to teach young
people how to use the Heimlich maneuver allows
him to still pursue his passion for saving lives.
here for my blog items about the "Heimlich
Heroes" program teaching students to perform the
Heimlich maneuver to revive unconscious
choking victims, a treatment that's unapproved by the
American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.
I shared that information with the Associated Press,
but they refused to amend Ms. Cornwell's article.
Correspondence on request -- PMH)
Heimlich’s New Book Deserves Informed Reviews
by Ben L. Kaufman, Cincinnati CityBeat, March 5th,
As interviews and reviews of the
autobiographical Heimlich’s Maneuvers accumulate,
(Peter Heimlich’s) scrapbook of corrections and
clarifications is getting fatter. So is his
collection of refusals to correct or clarify what he
says were egregious errors or credulous repetition
of his father’s contradictory statements.
spaniel earns pat on the head from (Peter)
Heimlich by Guto Llewellyn, Carmarthen
Journal (Wales), March 26, 2014:
Peter Heimlich’s proudest achievement are
corrections in influential national pre-publication
reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Review and
here for my related blog item.] All three
initially ignored Romanian surgeon Dan Gavriliu and
credited Heimlich alone with inventing the
Heimlich-Gavriliu esophagus replacement procedure.
Peter Heimlich is chasing news media that repeated
his father’s claim that editors of JAMA (Journal of
the American Medical Association) renamed abdominal
thrusts the “Heimlich Maneuver” years ago.
Lifesaving spaniel Mollypops has been
praised by none other than the son of the inventor
of the Heimlich manoeuvre.
Owner Rachel Hayes, 40, from Drefach
Felindre, had been choking on a chew sweet for
several minutes and believed she was about to die
until her pet jumped on her back, dislodging the
MORE TO COME....
Since the Carmarthen Journal reported the story last
week news of Mollypops's heroism has spread across
the world, even drawing the attention of Peter
Heimlich, whose father Henry invented the Heimlich
The Heimlich manoeuvre involves using a series of
abdominal thrusts on a choking victim in a bid to
dislodge the item. However, the technique has been
called into question, and by now it is advised that
people follow St John Ambulance advice instead of
the Heimlich manoeuvre.
This involves using hard blows on the upper back of
Peter Heimlich said: "I give big props to Mollypops.
Based on what I've read in the Journal, she's
strictly up to date on St John Ambulance's first aid
recommendations, plus she kept her cool in a
"I'd urge all creatures great and small to follow
her example and learn how to respond to choking and
other medical emergencies."