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Heimlich maneuver's creator fights Red Cross
and then five abdominal thrusts for someone who's choking.
It also turns out, however, that the research Heimlich seeks doesn't exist.
Choking is deadly. The National Safety Converse Dark Red Low
Council lists choking as America's No. 4 cause of accidental death behind poisoning (35,600 deaths annually), vehicles (35,500) and All White Converse High Tops Womens
"I don't want to fight the Red Cross," he insisted. "But I don't want people dying needlessly."
Turns out, Heimlich's timing is impeccable. The Red Cross is conducting its semiannual evaluation of the scientific research behind its guidelines for providing first aid to choking victims. The report is due Saturday.
Heimlich has also been at odds with the Red Cross over his claims that the maneuver could help drowning victims and someone suffering an asthma attack. Researchers have seriously questioned both of those claims.
"When they started calling for back slaps first and then the Heimlich maneuver," he recalled, "I wouldn't let them use the Heimlich name. Why? Because patients were going to die."
Heimlich has tussled with the Red Cross before.
falls (28,000). In 2010, the most recent year for which statistics have been compiled, choking claimed 4,700 lives, a 4 percent increase over 2009.
Dr. Henry Heimlich claims the procedure and its abdominal thrusts into the stomach above the navel and up against the diaphragm to force air from the lungs and remove obstructions have saved the lives of 100,000 potential choking victims. And yet the American Red Cross' first aid procedure recommends five back slaps Women Converse Slip On
An independent source concurs. "The literature says there is no one definitive treatment to relieve an obstructed airway on a conscious person," said William Terry Ray, director of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing's Nurse Anesthesia program. He looked at 40 years of research. The reviews concluded "a person may have to use the back blows as well as abdominal thrusts to relieve the obstruction, depending on what caused the person to choke."
Those recommendations "horrify" Heimlich. "There has never been any research saying the back slap saves lives," he said. "We know the Heimlich maneuver works. So it comes down to a matter of life or death."
Now, at the age of 92, writing his memoirs, the doctor plans to appeal to the Red Cross one last time.
"To the best of my knowledge, after doing a pretty thorough literature search, no controlled studies exist comparing back blows to abdominal thrusts or anything else," said Dr. Richard M. Bradley, a member of the Red Cross' Preparedness, Health and Safety Services advisory council and an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
"There is no evidence whatsoever that hitting someone on the back helps a choking person," Heimlich said. "Many scientific studies" have proven "if a person is choking and the food is in the airway, if you hit them on the back, it causes the food to go deeper and tighter into the airway."
Heimlich has asked the Red Cross to produce research showing the effectiveness of back slaps over his maneuver. If the nation's traditionally final word in first aid can't put up, he wants it to shut up. Stop telling people to slap choking victims on the back, he says. Tell them to use the Heimlich maneuver.
Heimlich believes some of those lives could have been saved by his maneuver versus slapping someone on the back.
This waffling has vexed the Ohio thoracic surgeon, prompting him to Converse Grey Womens ask the Red Cross to remove his name from any of its literature and training procedures on choking.
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