October 21, 2013 Richard A.

Duschl PhD Director Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) National Science Foundation (NSF) 4201 Wilson Boulevard Arlington, Virginia 22230 Dear Dr. Duschl: This is to request that the NSF initiate an investigation re: Award #1114623, Radiolab: What Curiosity Sounds Like; Discovering, Challenging, And Sharing Scientific Ideas, a continuing grant administered by your division, $1,498,205.00 awarded to date. (Ellen Horne, Principal Investigator; Jad Abumrad, Robert Krulwich, Soren Wheeler, Co-Principal Investigators; sponsor: WNYC/New York Public Radio). 1 I'm troubled that this program is supported by tax dollars. Based on the following information, Radiolab's brand of journalism includes: failing to correct provably false information; reporting information known to be false; reporting fabricated information; cutting unethical deals to obtain interviews; obtaining interviews and information under false pretenses; and censorship. Astoundingly, all that malfeasance occurred in the reporting of a single story, The Man Behind the Maneuver, a 25-minute documentary about my father, Henry J. Heimlich MD, known for “the Heimlich maneuver.” I. INTRODUCTION In 2002 my wife and I began researching my father's career. Since Spring 2003, our work has resulted in numerous media reports that exposed my father as a charlatan who for decades promoted unfounded medical treatments that put the public at risk and resulted in considerable harm, including the loss of life. 2 Further, articles in the British Medical Journal, the Boston Herald, Radar magazine, and other publications have questioned whether my father deserves credit for inventing “the Heimlich maneuver.” On August 29, 2012, I received an e-mail from a Radiolab producer named Pat Walters informing me that he'd “read the extensive materials on my website” and that he wanted to interview me for a story he was reporting about my father's career. I'd never heard of Radiolab, but after listening to a handful of stories on the show's website, I politely declined. (I thought the program was long on style, short on substance.) I then received a pair of lengthy e-mails from Mr. Walters. Here's a sampling: I can assure you that I take this work very seriously, that I respect what a privilege it is to be trusted with these stories. In all these cases, we’re after the truth. And so, yes, we do talk about science and history, we teach, we explain. But what sets us apart, what gets us a little closer to the truth, I think, is the effort we pour into trying to help our listeners understand something about the people behind that information. So, yes, I want to talk about the Heimlich maneuver, the history of where it came from, its rise to fame. I want to talk about the science behind it, whether it works better or worse than, say, slapping someone on the back or compressing their chest — I’ve been in contact with several doctors about that question today. And, of course, I want to talk about the controversy surrounding your father’s later work — the esophagus operation,3 using the maneuver for drowning, malariatherapy. Your website is tremendously informative on these issues, and there are experts I can talk to....But the fact is, we know about all those things because you brought them to light...(It’s) impossible to talk about your father without talking about you. The world learning about your father’s later work is your part of the story. Which is why I need to talk to you.

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To my knowledge, the NSF grant is Radiolab's principal source of funds. Another major funder is the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation which, according to IRS records, has awarded $1,277,700 to Radiolab since 2008. Cincinnati's Heimlich Institute funded and supervised notorious experiments, in which US and foreign nationals suffering from cancer, Lyme Disease, and AIDS were infected with malaria. The work been condemned as a medical "atrocity” and has resulted in investigations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Justice, the Food and Drug Administration, and the University of California in Los Angeles. For recent information, St. Louis University Under Fire for Work with Doctor Who Infected AIDS Patients with Malaria by Sam Levin, Riverfront Times, September 9, 2013. Also see Some of the victims - casualties of the Heimlich maneuver for drowning rescue on my website. Most of my father's work in esophageal surgery long predates the introduction of the Heimlich maneuver in 1974. However, he continued to work as a surgeon until May 1977, when he was fired for misconduct at his last hospital job, Director of Surgery at Cincinnati's Jewish Hospital.

As I’m sure you could tell from listening to the program, it is a documentary show, in which the guests speak as much — typically quite a lot more — than the producer/host. The stories we make belong as much to them as to us. I don’t want to talk about you. I want you to speak for yourself. There are many reasons for this, but foremost, for me, is that you be represented accurately. And deeply. As the thoughtful, multi-faceted person you are. And without doing an interview, it’s impossible for me get to the kind of understanding, the kind of knowing, that requires. ...My overall focus isn’t why you “chose to drive the story into the media,” though as I’ve said, that is a piece of the plot, and I’d like to hear in your words. Nor is my focus why the “medical profession and the media failed” to get the word out about your father’s activities post-maneuver. My focus is a short (but not uncomplicated) question: Who is Henry Heimlich? Answering that obviously requires dealing with others: Where did the Heimlich maneuver come from? Is it actually the best way to save a choking victim? What are we to make of Heimlich’s advocating that the maneuver be used for drowning (which medical experts seem roundly to agree is wrong and dangerous)? Of his work using malariatherapy to treat AIDS and cancer? ...I’m casting a wide net right now. Reading tons — just printed out about 30 medical journal articles on the science (most of it is “science”) behind choking treatments, and the debate about what the right thing to do is. Talking to lots of experts. Et cetera. All this is just to say, as I’ve explained, to tell this story properly, I need to do a taped, on-the-record interview with you. Based on those assurances, on December 19, 2012 I did a two-hour phone interview with Mr. Walters. Further, based on his encouragements in phone calls and e-mails, I provided him with considerable information and documents in the months before and after the interview. On March 6, 2013, I received a brief e-mail from Mr. Walters informing me that his story (which he'd worked on for over a year) was posted on Radiolab's website and thanking me for my contribution. Upon listening to The Man Behind the Maneuver,4 I was surprised to learn that the foundation of Mr. Walters's story was a choking incident from his childhood in which a school nurse performed the Heimlich maneuver on him. During our six months of phone calls and e-mails, he never mentioned that to me. If he had, I might have asked him and his editor this obvious question: Can someone who believes his life was saved by the Heimlich maneuver report objectively about the treatment and its purported inventor? 5 In any event, I had no concerns regarding the parts he included from my interview. I did, however, catch these three factual errors in the story and promptly submitted a request for published corrections: 1) Incorrectly-reported information about a woman's cause of death in a 1972 choking incident. 2) Incorrectly-reported information about a train wreck that took place in South Kent, CT and was reported on the front page of the August 29, 1941 New York Times.6 3) That prior to the introduction of the Heimlich maneuver in 1974, my father tied string to pieces of meat which were inserted into the throats of dogs. In response to my request, Mr. Walters informed me that Jad Abumrad, Radiolab's managing editor and CoInvestigator on the NSF grant, agreed to correct the first two errors, but rejected the third. That refusal to correct a minor error began an unexpected series of events which, in my opinion, raise reasonable and serious doubts about Radiolab's editorial competence and integrity.

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It's a matter of opinion if Mr. Walters's report measures up to the extravagant assurances he made to me, but I'd suggest you compare his work to Aviva Ziegler's The Heimlich manoeuvre, a 30-minute audio documentary that aired four years earlier by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In his May 1, 2013 Cincinnati CityBeat media criticism column which addressed some of the reportorial problems with The Man Behind the Maneuver, veteran reporter and journalism professor Ben Kaufman concluded, “Given the conflict of interest, letting choking survivor (Pat) Walters do the interview was a mistake.” As I informed Mr. Walters when he was reporting his story, I have evidence that raises reasonable doubts about the version of events he (and the New York Times) reported about the train wreck. That information has not yet been published, so I didn't request a correction.

II. FAILING TO CORRECT PROVABLY FALSE INFORMATION From An Illustrated History of Heimlich, here's part of a page-size graphic that accompanied the story – please note the dog with the string coming out of its mouth and the accompanying text:

Click here to listen to the relevant audio clip. Here's a transcription: Pat Walters: So (Dr. Heimlich) gets a dog. Host: He got a dog? Henry J. Heimlich MD: Yes. PW: Where did you get it? HJH: Oh, we had a laboratory and it had some dogs there. PW: So this wasn't like Fido, the Heimlich family pet? HJH: No, no. PW: (He) laid the dog down on the operating table and then he jams this piece of meat... HJH: Probably beef.... PW: ...down the dog's throat. Host: Did he at least sedate the dog before this? PW: Dog is anesthetized. And he ties a piece of string around the beef, in case he needs to pull it out. Not long after my father conducted the research, two prominent medical journals published key articles by my father that introduced “the Heimlich maneuver.” In both articles, he described the dog experiments in detail. From Pop Goes the Café Coronary by Henry J. Heimlich MD, Emergency Medicine, June 1974: The procedure is adapted from experimental work with four 38-pound beagles, in which I was assisted by surgical research technician Michael H. McNeal. After being given an intravenous anesthetic, each dog was "strangled" with a size 32 cuffed endotracheal tube inserted into the larynx. After the cuff was distended to create total obstruction of the trachea, the animal went into immediate respiratory distress as evidenced by spasmodic, paradoxical respiratory movements of the chest and diaphragm. At this point, with a sudden thrust, I pressed the palm of my hand deeply and firmly into the abdomen of the animal a short distance below the rib cage, thereby pushing upward on the diaphragm. The endotracheal tube popped out of the trachea and, after several labored respirations, the animal began to breathe normally. This procedure was even more effective when the other hand maintained constant pressure on the lower abdomen directing almost all the pressure toward the diaphragm. We repeated the experiment more than 20 times on each animal with the same excellent results. When a bolus of raw hamburger was substituted for the endotracheal tube , it, too, was ejected by the same procedure, always after one or two compressions.

From A Life-Saving Maneuver to Prevent Food-Choking by Henry J. Heimlich, MD, Journal of the American Medical Association (cover story), October 27, 1975: Four beagles, weighing 17 kg (38 lb) each, were anesthetized with thiamylal (Surital) sodium given intravenously. A cuffed, No. 32 endotracheal tube, the lumen plugged by a rubber stopper, was inserted under direct vision through the mouth into the larynx. The cuff was distended with 3 to 4 ml of air, causing total obstruction of the trachea, simulating a bolus of food caught in the human larynx. The animal immediately went into respiratory distress, as evidenced by spasmodic paradoxical respiratory movements of the chest and diaphragm. At first, the rib cage was manually compressed in an attempt to increase the intrapulmonary pressure and expel the bolus. This procedure was unsuccessful. It was later realized that the compressibility of the lungs by this technique was inadequate due to the rigidity of the chest wall. Furthermore, any increase in intrapleural pressure would be dissipated by depressing the diaphragm. Subsequently, I pressed the palm of my hand deeply and firmly upward into the abdomen of the animal a short distance below the rib cage, thereby pushing against the diaphragm. The endotracheal tube (bolus) popped out of the trachea. After several labored respirations, the dog resumed breathing. The experiment was repeated more than 20 times on each animal with the same result. The clinical situation was then simulated by inserting a bolus of raw hamburger into the dog's larynx until the respiratory passage was totally occluded. The abdominal pressure maneuver was repeated and, in each instance, after one or two compressions, the bolus was ejected from the larynx and normal respiratory exchange was established. What's missing is any mention of string. Also, in both articles, the meat is identified as raw hamburger. How can a piece of string be tied around a piece of raw hamburger? Further, after being inserted into a dog's throat, if pulled out, wouldn't the string just cut through the hamburger?7 I provided this information in my corrections request, so why didn't Mr. Abumrad fix the error? In an attempt to answer that question, I asked Mr. Walters for his source. He wrote back, “My source for the string is your father.” But note that in the audio clip and the transcript, my father doesn't make the claim about the string – Mr. Walters does. So I asked him to provide me with an audio clip and/or a transcript of that part of his interview with my father. Here's the reply I received from Ellen Horne, Radiolab's Executive Producer and Principal Investigator on the NSF grant: (In) February of 2012, our producer Pat Walters spent two days in Cincinnati interviewing your father, Dr. Henry Heimlich, about his career. Dr. Heimlich told Pat the detail about the string during that time. Unfortunately, we cannot offer you a transcript of that exact conversation because Pat was not recording continuously during his visit, and that conversation did not happen to get recorded. In other words, Mr. Walters recorded his questions and my father's answers about the dog experiments and the beef, but somehow managed to miss the part about the string. Next I e-mailed these questions to Mr. Walters: Did you take notes during the interview? If so, do your notes include the information about the string or did you report the information based entirely on your recollection? Perhaps not surprisingly, I haven't received a reply. Therefore, I'm requesting that the NSF ask the Principal Investigator to provide that information, including copies of Mr. Walters's notes, assuming he took any. But just for the sake of argument, let's assume that my father did provide Mr. Walters with the information about the string. Why would Mr. Abumrad consider my father to be a credible source?


This also makes apparent that when he interviewed my father, Mr. Walters had not even read these two crucial articles. If he had, he would have been aware of the facts about the four beagles and the string. The same applies to his inane question about “Fido the Heimlich family pet.”

First, at the time of the interview, my father was 92 years old, long-retired, in diminished health, 8 and residing in an assisted living facility in Cincinnati, Ohio. Second, having “read the extensive materials on my website,” Mr. Walters was aware that my father has been a serial fabricator since the beginning of his career. Here are some examples:9 A. According to a March 16, 2003 Cincinnati Enquirer front-page article, in 1955 my father falsely claimed to have invented a surgical procedure that was invented years earlier by Dr. Dan Gavriliu of Bucharest, Romania. (Coincidentally, while reporting his story, Mr. Walters informed me he was traveling to Bucharest for a journalism conference and asked me to provide him with contact information for Dr. Gavriliu's family, which I did. Shortly after his return, Mr. Walters told me he made no attempt to contact anyone.) B. Years before Radiolab's story, the Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times Leader, the Cleveland Scene, and other news outlets reported that my father used fraudulent case reports to promote his claims that the Heimlich maneuver is an effective treatment to resuscitate near-drowning victims. C. From 2001-2006, my father told reporters from the Chicago Sun-Times, the BBC, and The New Yorker magazine that he had performed the Heimlich maneuver on a choking victim at a Cincinnati restaurant. But a 2009 article announcing the publication of his autobiography stated, “The famous doctor has never had the opportunity to administer the maneuver on a choking victim.” (Click here for a compilation of the articles.) D. From Rebel With A Cause: Saving Lives an autobiographical article by my father published in the 1998 Encyclopedia Britannica Health Annual: One of the greatest moments in my life came in February 1993 when I traveled to Vietnam with a delegation of chest surgeons, a visit sponsored by the Citizen Ambassador Program of People to People International. At the Hanoi airport we were greeted by North Vietnamese chest surgeons. When I was introduced, their head doctor said, "Dr. Heimlich, you need no introduction. Everyone in Vietnam knows your name. My immediate assumption was that I would hear a story about the invention for which I am best known: the Heimlich maneuver for saving choking victims. But the surgeon proceeded to describe how Heimlich Chest Drain Valves, supplied by the Society of Friends (Quakers), "saved tens of thousands of our people during the war. The American Friends Service Committee kept us supplied with Heimlich valves throughout the war." The physician chairman who opened our meetings always began by saying, "Dr. Heimlich will live in the hearts of the Vietnamese people forever." The first time I heard those words, I cried. Very few things in my life have given me as much satisfaction as knowing that the Heimlich Chest Drain Valve saved countless lives on both sides of that horrible war. Here's another version from Heroes of Ohio by Rick Sowash, a book for children published in 1998 (original page): Today America is friends with Vietnam again partly because of Dr. Heimlich. A few years ago Dr. Heimlich went to Viet Nam [sic] to try to build a friendship between the two countries. Again and again he was told, “Everyone in Vietnam knows your name. Your valve saved thousands of our people.” “I was surprised,” he says now. “At the beginning of every meeting, someone would say, almost like a prayer, 'Dr. Heimlich will live in the hearts of the Vietnamese people forever.' When I first heard this, I burst out crying.” This absurd claim - that a U.S. organization would be permitted to provide medical equipment to an enemy army during wartime - was debunked in a November 10-11, 2005 Radar magazine article by Thomas Francis. Regarding my father's state of mind, consider his quote in a Spring 2000 fundraising newsletter published by Cincinnati's Heimlich Institute, 12 years before the Radiolab interview: Dr. Henry Heimlich celebrated his birthday February 3rd, and like every other year, Dr. Heimlich can’t help but recognize an amazing coincidence which corresponds with his date of birth. Best known for his Maneuver to save choking victims, Dr. Heimlich shares a connection to a historical lifesaver with a similar legacy.

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As Mr. Walters undoubtedly observed during his interviews, my father wears hearing aids in both ears. Mr. Walters was aware of all these facts, none of which he reported. He also chose not to report that the late Edward A. Patrick MD PhD, my father's 30-year colleague, issued a May 28, 2003 press release claiming to be the uncredited codeveloper of “the Heimlich maneuver” which, according to his full-page obituary in the March 13, 2010 British Medical Journal, he called “the Patrick-Heimlich maneuver.”

St. Blaise of Sebaste, a bishop under Emperor Licinius c. 316, is known for saving the life of a boy who was choking to death on a fish bone. By the 6th century, St. Blaise became known as the Patron Saint of choking and throat disorders. The Blessing of the Throats ceremony began in Catholic Mass in the 16th century and is still celebrated today every February 3. Just a coincidence? Maybe, but Dr. Heimlich still marvels at the calendar connection between himself and the Patron Saint of choking. “I’m very moved,” says Dr. Heimlich. “I think it has to be fate more than simply coincidence.” My point is that even if my father did provide Mr. Walters with the information about the string, why would Mr. Abumrad ignore facts published in leading medical journals shortly after the dog experiments took place and instead give precedence to the word of a nonagenarian in diminished capacity with a history of making up stories? And since Mr. Walters didn't even record the claim about the string, why would Mr. Abumrad stand behind it? I can think of only one explanation. Correcting the error would mean completely re-doing the Illustrated History of Heimlich page-size graphic that prominently features the dog with the string coming out of its mouth and the accompanying text. If that turns out to be the case – and this is to request that the NSF ask the Principal Investigator to provide an explanation why Mr. Abumrad chose not to correct the error – it raises obvious concerns about his editorial judgment and commitment to provide Radiolab's audience with accurate information. III. REPORTING INFORMATION KNOWN TO BE FALSE; REPORTING FABRICATED INFORMATION During my interview with Mr. Walters, he asked me whether I thought that “the good my father had accomplished outweighed the bad.” I asked him to clarify – that is, what “good” and “bad” was he referring to? He replied that regardless of the harm for which my father may be responsible, “the Heimlich maneuver has saved the lives of many thousands of choking victims.”10 I then asked him for the source of that number. He replied that it came from choking death statistics published by the National Safety Council. (I'm familiar with those statistics, so I realized he didn't know what he was talking about.) I replied that I'd answer his question after he reviewed those figures and got back to me. About a week later, I received this in a December 27, 2012 e-mail from Mr. Walters: I checked my NSC stats, and it looks like I was wrong. I’d had an intern run the numbers for me initially, with the intention of checking them later, which I always do. Here’s what I’ve found: I only have data up to 2009 (from the 2011 report),11 which I believe you said you have, too. I’m waiting on the 2012 report from the com people at NSC so I can avoid paying 90 bucks for it. But anyway, according to that data and my back of the envelope calculations using population estimates from the US Census, in 1973 (pre-Heimlich manuever [sic]), choking was listed as the cause for 1.42 deaths per 100,000 people in the US. In 2009? The rate was 1.49 per 100,000. So, if anything, the rate has gone up a bit. But just a bit. Not even significant, if you ask me. My take on this is that, essentially, almost nothing has changed. Interesting. Interesting indeed. But here's what Mr. Walters reported: (Thousands) and thousands – maybe even millions – have been rescued by the Heimlich maneuver.

10 I don't have a complete copy of the interview, so these quotes are paraphrased to the best of my recollection. 11 Click here for a copy of the NSC's 2011 edition of Injury Facts – choking deaths per capita from 1940-2009 are on pages

In an e-mail to Mr. Walters shortly after his story aired, I asked how he arrived at the “thousands and thousands – maybe even millions” figure? From his March 8 reply: The maneuver has been around for 38 years. If 52 people have been saved by it in each year of its existence, it has saved “thousands” of lives over the course of its existence. In other words, he ignored his own conclusion about the NSC data, and chose to make up and report his own. This is to request that your agency ask the Principal Investigator to explain how that editorial decision conforms to Discovering, Challenging, And Sharing Scientific Ideas, the title of the NSF grant. IV. CUTTING UNETHICAL DEALS TO OBTAIN INTERVIEWS; OBTAINING INTERVIEWS AND INFORMATION UNDER FALSE PRETENSES; CENSORSHIP On April 12, about five weeks after the broadcast of The Man Behind the Maneuver (by “more than 450 public radio stations across the country” according to Radiolab), I received an e-mail from Mr. Walters stating that, “A note outlining the corrections has been appended to the web copy,” (referring to the first two of the three corrections requests I described above). Mr. Walters neglected to mention that this “Producer's note” had also “been appended to the web copy”: We made some minor changes to this story that do not alter the substance. First, we removed the audio of Peter Heimlich, Henry Heimlich’s son, from the version now on the site. When we approached Henry’s other son Phil to arrange an interview with his father, one of Phil’s conditions was that we not air audio of Peter. We thought he’d waived that provision in a subsequent conversation but he contends he did not. So we are honoring the original request. Imagine my surprise being made aware of this for the first time and realizing that: A. Radiolab cuts unethical deals to obtain interviews. B. I was approached by Mr. Walters months after Radiolab cut the deal with my brother, an arrangement that was never disclosed to me. In other words, Radiolab solicits interviews and obtains information from sources under false pretenses. C. Radiolab engages in censorship.12 In response to my follow-up inquiry, Mr. Walters wrote me that: At every step, (Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich) and my editor were keep [sic] closely apprised and were aware of these agreements. As I told media critic Ben Kaufman for his Cincinnati CityBeat column: “Rest assured that if I'd been aware of this behind-the-scenes duplicity by Mr. Walters and his superiors, I wouldn't have given him a minute of my time. And I'd advise other sources to steer clear of Radiolab.”

12 Click here to listen to the pre-censored version of The Man Behind the Maneuver that includes my voice.

V. CONCLUSION The reportorial problems with The Man Behind the Maneuver are so egregious that I strongly doubt it's an isolated example of junk journalism at Radiolab.13 Via Mr. Kaufman's CityBeat column: Over the years, Peter (Heimlich) has dealt with lots of reporters. I asked, "Have you encountered this kind of deal before?" Peter responded, “I've never heard of a deal like this...and how many other Radiolab stories have included deals like this?” In my opinion, these problems are systemic: incompetent editorial oversight at Radiolab and WNYC, and perhaps inadequate monitoring of the grant by the NSF. In any case, it's incomprehensible to me why tax dollars are supporting such unethical conduct and shabby work. Therefore, this is to request that the NSF conduct a thorough review of Radiolab's editorial policies and NSF's oversight of the grant, and that further funding be frozen until the review is completed. In addition to the requested information discussed above, this is to request that the review include asking the Principal Investigator to provide NSF with: copies of all on-the-record interviews conducted for The Man Behind the Maneuver; all records associated with the censorship deal; copies of all corrections requests and substantive editorial complaints for all other Radiolab stories to date; and that all materials not protected by privacy laws be made publicly available. Thank you for your consideration of my request and I look forward to your reply. Sincerely,

Peter M. Heimlich 3630 River Hollow Run Duluth, GA 30096 ph: (208)474-7283 website: http://medfraud.info blog: http://the-sidebar.com cc: Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Chairman, Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, U.S. Senate Rep. Lamar Smith, Chairman, Science, Space, and Technology Committee, U.S. House of Representatives Cora B. Marrett PhD, Acting Director, NSF Allison C. Lerner, Inspector General, NSF

13 September 30, 2012 published apology by co-host Robert Krulwich for another problematic Radiolab story produced by
Mr. Walters.