What do Little House on the Prairie, the Dean of Cincinnati and the Heimlich Maneuver have in common? They’re all mentioned in the same article in the current issue of L.A. Weekly.—-
The alt-weekly newspaper features a searing article on local resident Dr. Henry Heimlich, alleged creator of the famous choking maneuver, and the fact that a prominent medical award is named after him despite multiple critics alleging he’s involved in dangerous quackery in Africa.
As part of its 25th anniversary gala this weekend, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is handing out its latest Heimlich Award for Innovative Medicine. The private, star-studded bash was scheduled at the Malibu mansion of Cindy Landon, widow of Michael Landon, the actor and producer on Little House on the Prairie and other TV series.
After the newspaper began inquiring about the event, it was abruptly switched to the historic Warner Hollywood Studios.
Also receiving a different award at the event is TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
PCRM has come under fire for the gala, called “Celebrating the Art of Compassion,” for not revoking Heimlich’s name from the award. Several years ago, Heimlich was involved with medical experiments in Africa that saw HIV patients deliberately injected with malaria as a possible AIDS cure, a procedure that would be illegal in the United States.
The research was called “dangerous and irresponsible” by the Centers for Disease Control, while the World Health Organization called it “an example of clearly unscrupulous and opportune research.”
Actor Alec Baldwin and comedian Bill Maher are listed as honorary committee members for the PCRM event. Their spokespeople told L.A. Weekly that neither would likely attend.
The newspaper notes that, in both its mission statement and IRS filings, PCRM states it is “strongly opposed to unethical human research.”
Further, L.A. Weekly cites the Cincinnati Beacon, a Web site operated by local blogger Jason Haap, also known as the Dean of Cincinnati. It states Heimlich hasn’t denied Beacon reports that he is trying to revive the malaria experiments in other nations.
A prominent AIDS research advocacy group has said Heimlich’s malaria experiments should be illegal.
"If Heimlich is really doing this, he should be put in jail," said Mark Harrington, executive director of Treatment Action Group, to CNN/Reuters in 2003.
Dr. Henry Heimlich, 90, is the father of Phil Heimlich, a former Cincinnati city councilman and Hamilton County commissioner.