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Jul 27, 2009 8:26 pm US/Central

Local Lifeguards Trained In Dangerous Techniques
DALLAS (CBS 11 / TXA 21) — It has been described as reckless, negligent, unethical and useless. CBS 11 News has learned that some local lifeguard be trained to use the Heimlich Maneuver before using CPR on an unconscious drowning victim. The result could be fatal, and has the local medical com very concerned. Cities like Rowlett and Dallas hired a Houston-based company called NASCO (National Aquatic Safety Company), which instructs lifeguards to use the m as a first-response to a drowning victim. NASCO runs one of the country's largest water safety certification programs. Dr. Paul Pepe is the Director of Medical Emergency Services for the City of Dallas, and a highly respected national expert on emergency medicine. Pep write "The Handbook on Drowning." His conclusion, there is "no need to perform the so-called Heimlich Maneuver" - CPR is the first aid you render. "W general rescue, when they're unconscious, when they're basically needing immediate resuscitation, we don't waste a lot of time doing that. We get right resuscitation techniques, compressions." The American Heart Association states, "After thorough review, the AHA believes the most important thing is give two rescue breaths and then CPR." The American Red Cross teaches CPR all over the country and states using the Heimlich - or, as it is sometimes called, abdominal thrusts -- wastes precious moments. The fear among medical professionals is real. In 1987, the Journal of the American Medical Association documented the case of a 10-year-old boy foun bottom of a swimming pool. He was given the Heimlich Maneuver, causing him to breathe in his own vomit. He ended up in a vegetative state for seven y he died. Dr. John Hunsucker runs NASCO. Hunsucker is a university Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering, and is not a medical doctor. Hunsucker claim the Heimlich Maneuver on a drowning victim saves lives, and he teaches the technique all over the world. When CBS 11 News asked Hunsucker for scientific evidence to support his position, he sent us a three-page paper stating the maneuver "does not dela and that "..medical professionals are hesitant to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation." In one news report, Hunsucker was quoted as saying CPR puts the re risk of AIDS, hepatitis and tuberculosis. Click here to read Hunsucker's thoughts on "CPR Issues For Lifeguards." The American Red Cross says it has scientific proof that CPR works. "We spend countless hours verifying that what we are teaching someone to do - th proven to be effective," said local American Red Cross spokesperson Anita Foster. Despite backlash in the medical community, a spokesperson with the City of Rowlett told CBS 11 News, "We've read and researched. We feel comfortab our lifeguards being trained under NASCO protocols." The City of Dallas uses the NASCO protocols in its training, but told CBS 11 News its lifeguards are instructed not to use the Heimlich Maneuver as the f response on an unconscious drowning victim. City-operated pools may not be the only ones at risk. CBS 11 News obtained a 2008 NASCO client list and found the Hawaiian Falls waterparks in Garla Colony were listed as clients. When CBS 11 News contacted Hawaiian Falls to find out if it still uses NASCO protocols and trains lifeguards to use the H e Maneuver as a first response - the company's public relations firm sent an e-mail stating: "Our client does not care to participate in this story."

The Texas Municipal League, which represents cities across the state has a contract with NASCO, says the training it provides locally does not include the Heimlich Maneuver. The City of Rowlett sent us this statement: "After conducting extensive research, staff recommends that lifeguards at the Wet Zone continue to use the NASCO protocol as described below. Abdominal thrusts are to only be used, if necessary, as a lifesaving tool on a victim who is found unconscious in the water while transporting them to the side of the pool for extraction. From the point of extraction from the water, abdominal thrusts are not to be used. These guidelines are in line with the NASCO guidelines and those set forth by the American Heart Association. The Wet Zone lifeguards will review and practice this training in the weekly in-service conducted this week. Our number one concern and goal is for our lifeguards to continue to provide the best, safest and most effective procedures for our patrons." (© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)