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Cincinnati E n q u i r e r , 4-16-0d

Physicians say story unfairly


I)Qrtrayed' Helirilieti's work .
T h i s week, (April 14-18), the . the surgery first H e even submit­ me."
nation is celebrating the contribu­ ted a report on the procedure to a Clearly, Dr. Heimlich was not
tions of a man who, as Norman U.S. scientific journal so that "the improperly assuming credit for
Vincent Peale said, "has saved procedure may become known to the procedure. On t h e contrary, .
the lives of more human beings American surgeons and that Dr; h e worked diligently to ensure
than any other person living to­ Dan Gavriliu b e given priority." In that the medical community,
day." That man is Dr. Henry the same article in the journal knew that Dr. Gavriliu was,a pio-%
Heimlich. And rather than cele-* Surgery, October 1957, Dr. Heim­ neer.
brating t h e man who developed lich went on to say that T)r. Gav­ Dr. Heimlich also is a pioneer!
the. Heimlich Maneuver and revo- riliu first successfully performed Time and again h e h a s bucked
lutiorii^d the treatment of chok­ the surgery in April 1951. conventional wisdom and eventu­
ing and near-drowning victims,. Dr. Heimlich continued to ally been proven r i g h t T h e Heim­
The. Cincinnati Enquirerhas at­ point out, on his own accord, that lich Maneuver - a teclmiqu'e for
tempted to discredit him. Dr. Gavriliu was first-' saving victims of choking and!
This is iinfortunate. This is ir­ ■ An article for the Interna­ near-drpwhings - was controver­
responsible: T h i s is wrong. tional Society of Surgery Confer- sial for many years. Yet Dr. Heim­
Dr. Heimlich h a s dedicated his ence in 1957 - carrying the names lich prevailed, and today thou-.
life to. researching and treating of both Dr. Gavriliu and Dr. sands of lives around the world
some, of the world's biggest med- " Heimlich — , reported: "A proce­ have been saved because of this
ical problems. From helping vic­ dure for replacing the esophagus simple, effective emergency pro­
tims of chest trauma to working by means of a reversed gastric cedure.
to boost immune systems in the tube created from the greater April 14 h chc start ox National
fight against AIDS, Dr. Heiiruich curvature of the stomach was de^ Heimlich Maneuver Week, a time
h a s been at t h e forefront of med­ scribed by Heimlich and Winfield to educate people about the tech­
ical research, and treatment. H e iii April 1955. Shortly thereafter, nique. It also is ah opportunity to
h a s chosen to m a k e Cincinnati Dr. Dan Gavriliu of Bucharest, educate people about the contri­
his home, and w e are better for it. Romania, wrote t h e authors stat­ butions, the legacy and.the integ­
On March 16, however, the En-. ing that t h e operation they had rity of its inventor, Dr. Henry
quirer ran a front-page story dis­ performed experimentally had Ileimlichv
paraging.. Dr. Heimlich. Titled been successfully performed ..As medical professionals, w e
"Heimlich falsely" claims h e in­ since 1951." are writing to establish clearly
vented surgical procedure," the ■ In an article in t h e American that we ..find Mr.' Anglen's article
article by Robert Anglen stated Medical Association's Archives of highly inaccurate and distorted..
that Dr. Heimlich did not proper­ Otolaryngology in May 1959, Dr. Dr. Heimlich is a caring, commit­
ly credit a Romanian doctor .for. Heimlich again credited Dr. Gav­ ted and courageous humanitari­
his role in developing .ah innova­ riliu.. "I described the reversed an. H e deserves to be treated
tive operation. In reality, Dr. gastric tube operation in 1955*, .with respect; •
Heimlich has consistently given and, subsequently, was informed % — John M. Tew, M.D.
credit t o Dr. P a n Gavriliu. Not . by Dr. Dan Gavriliu* of Bucharest, * • ■ Neurosurgeoh
just once, but many times over Romania, that h e had been per­ — Creighton B„ Wright, M.D.
t h e course of several decades. forming • this operation since Cardiovascular and Thoracic
First, a little background: Dr. 1951." Surgeon
Heimlich and a colleague, Dr. ■ In a 1972 article in The — Kevin D. Martin, M.D.
James M.Winfield, in the medical American Journal of Surgery, Dr. Cranley Surgical Associates
journal Surgery in 1955, outlined a Heimlich again clearly credited ■ — Ronald Sacher, M.D.
technique they had developed to Dr. Gavriliu with primacy. Professor of Internal Medicine
replace or bypass t h e esophagus. ■ In the Annals of Surgery in .... and Pathology
Shortly thereafter. Dr. Gavriliu 1975, Dr. Heimlich wrote: "For University of Cincinnati
wrote to them that h e had per­ ten years prior to 1955, t h e Iron Director, Hoxworth Blood Center
formed the same surgery suc­ Curtain prevented" exchange of .— John J. Larkin, M.D.
cessfully in Romania since 1951. scientific information . between Orthopedic surgeon
While Romanian scientific jour­ Eastern Europe and the W e s t — Louis Brockroeier, M.D.
nals had. published m i s news, Gavriliu and Gorgeson in Past president
those journals had n o t been avail­ Romania, also in 1955, informed Academy of Medicine
able in the U.S. given the Cold me, after reading my paper, that —■ Charles Pierce, M.D. Ph.D
War climate. ,they , h a d - independently de­ . Professor of Pharmaceutical
scribed t h e RGT operation. Their Sciences,
Upon hearing from Dr; Gavri­ : College of Pharmacy
liu, Dr. Heimlich promptly cred­ contribution... ;'.was then made •University of Cincinnati
ited Dr. Gavriliu -with performing ' known to the -West in a report by