Most of you have probably heard of the Heimlich maneuver. Even if you weren’t quite certain how to perform this procedure, we know that when someone is choking, quick implementation can often save someone’s life. It’s also one of the few opportunities we have in life to be acknowledged as a true hero
Diana and I traveled to LA last week to attend, PCRM’s 25th Anniversary Gala. As part of the program, the Henry J. Heimlich Award for Innovative Medicine was presented. We had met Dr. Heimlich on several previous occasions, and had found him to be a very generous and engaging individual and especially sharp at 90 years of age.
In 1974, he published research which was to be the basis for the introduction of the Heimlich maneuver. It has been estimated that more than 50,000 lives have been saved from choking and drowning in the United States and many thousands more worldwide. Throughout his professional life, Dr. Heimlich developed many other important procedures and devices to save lives and reduce suffering.
With this background, and our knowledge of Dr Heimlichs’ many accomplishments, we were shocked to discover an amazingly negative story about him in the La Weekly just a few days before the PCRM Gala. It was a classic ‘’hit piece’’, full of innuendo with an estranged son who claimed his father to be a fraud and charlatan.
A careful reading of this story, led us to believe that the author was using Dr. Heimlich as a conduit to attack PCRM. The implication was that the entire world knew Heimlich was a fraud, and that his only supporters were PCRM, the animal rights group.
This outrageous story had the opposite effect on attendance at the event. There were more than 500 attendees, the majority of whom had never seen the slanderous story. Those few individuals who had read the story, deemed it so ‘’off the wall’’ that they totally disregarded it.
This experience for us was both enlightening and frightening. The planting of pseudo investigative reporting by special interest groups to sway public opinion is an alarm for us to be very discerning regarding our news sources.