Manchin’s act likely saved McCaskill’s life. But in Washington, where no topic seems immune to controversy, Manchin’s use of the well-known technique has resurfaced a decades-old debate about whether to slap or squeeze.
Phil and Janet Heimlich aim to end that controversy. The son and daughter of Dr. Henry Heimlich, who developed the abdominal thrusts to stop choking more than four decades ago and died in 2016, are launching a campaign called “Hug, Don’t Hit” to raise awareness on how to use the maneuver.
Janet Heimlich said, “What is really concerning to me … is that people may not be learning how to do it and they may not be learning how to do it correctly.”
The Heimlich maneuver, which Heimlich first wrote about in 1974, is credited with saving many choking victims. The method involves wrapping one’s arms around the victim’s waist from behind, placing a fist above the navel, and pushing in and up. Soon after its unveiling, some experts criticized Heimlich’s methods of testing the technique, arguing that the maneuver could inflict other injuries. But over time, the Heimlich maneuver has come to be widely accepted.
Janet Heimlich said that if the Red Cross teaches people to slap a choker’s back first, “they must show the public what evidence they have … that back blows are not only effective but the most effective method to use.”
The Red Cross pointed to similar guidelines promoted by the Resuscitation Council, a medical group responsible for creating standards for cardiac resuscitation in the United Kingdom. The organization also referred to findings from the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, a coalition of groups that specialize in resuscitation protocols. The committee’s findings concluded that it is unclear which method should be performed first.
In a statement, the Red Cross said it “doesn’t discount the use of abdominal thrusts — but we have found no scientific evidence stating that this one technique is more effective than the others. American Red Cross findings, and our conscious choking guidelines, are consistent with those of other international resuscitation societies and organizations.”
It is this lack of scientific evidence proving one method more effective that fuels the debate, said Dr. Alfred Sacchetti, a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians and chief of emergency services at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, N.J. However, he said, conducting these studies would be difficult.
“You can’t put an ad in a paper that says, ‘OK, everybody is going help a person who’s choking this way for a week,’ ” Sacchetti said.
Whether the Heimlichs’ campaign will succeed in ending the speculation surrounding the back blows versus their father’s maneuver remains to be seen. But what can’t be disputed is that the maneuver worked in McCaskill’s case — even if it left her with a cracked rib.
News credit : Cnn