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Friday, October 24, 2008

Casewatch: Dr. Heimlich’s Associate Loses Libel Suit

Posted by The Dean of Cincinnati

Photo courtesy of here.

Photo:  Left to Right: seated: Neil A. Armstrong, Professor of Aerospace Engineering, University of Cincinnati; Henry J. Heimlich, MD, Director of Surgery, The Jewish Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio; Edward A. Patrick MD, PhD, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Purdue University. Standing: George Rieveschl, Jr., PhD, Sc.D., Vice President for Special Projects, University of Cincinnati (circa 1975).

Five years ago, Dr. Edward A. Patrick of Union KY issued this press release in which he claimed to be the co-developer of the Heimlich maneuver.  This week, a court case involving Dr. Patrick has made the ongoing story about The Maneuver even more noteworthy.

From Patrick’s press release about inventing the maneuver:

I have always viewed that Dr. Heimlich and I worked together to develop what has become known as the Heimlich maneuver just as the Wright brothers worked together to develop the first flying machine.

A 2004 Radar Magazine article provided more details:


(It) must have been a painful shock when, on a September day in 1985, a reporter told Patrick that Heimlich was claiming sole credit for having invented it. Patrick, who staged his own celebratory press conference to coincide with Heimlich’s, had been left at the altar. But for reasons that would become clear only much later, Patrick never retaliated. “I would like to get proper credit for what I’ve done,” Patrick told me. “But I’m not hyper about it.” Patrick’s ex-wife Joy tells a different story: “Whenever my kids would say ‘Heimlich maneuver,’ he would correct them and say, ‘Patrick maneuver.’”

This week Dr. Patrick choked on another loss. A federal judge in Cleveland dismissed a defamation case Patrick filed three years ago against a Cleveland newsweekly. The entire ruling is posted on under this summary by Stephen Barrett MD:


A federal court judge has dismissed a libel suit brought by Edward Patrick, M.D. against the Cleveland Scene newspaper and Thomas Francis, a writer whose cover story, “Playing Doctor,” had accused Patrick of lying about his professional experience. Patrick is board-certified in emergency medicine, based on a one-year residency program followed by credit for practice. However, critics believe he did not complete residency training. The newspaper article also questioned the veracity of data from Patrick that were used to establish the Heimlich maneuver. as a method for treating choking. As noted below, the judge concluded that Patrick misrepresented the extent of his medical training and failed to present credible information to rebut other accusations made in the article.

Some excerpts from Judge Lesley Wells’s order:


The article raised questions regarding Dr. Patrick’s medical residency credentials during the time he also worked for Dr. Heimlich as a computer researcher and for Purdue University as a professor of electrical engineering. The article alleged “what appears to be a phantom residency at Jewish Hospital.” The thrust of the article focuses on Dr. Patrick’s credentials and the plaintiff’s relationship with Dr. Heimlich during and after the development of the Heimlich Maneuver - a widely recognized technique used to respond to choking victims and as a secondary response for clearing the lungs in drowning cases.

The article goes on to allege misrepresentations made by Dr. Patrick in his medical credentials, including his claims of the following: a full professorship at Indiana University; a special emergency medicine residency under Dr. Heimlich; a residency at Deaconess Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio; a residency in emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati Hospital; a residency in emergency medicine at Purdue University Hospital; and, serving as the guiding hand in establishing the family residency program at St. Luke’s Hospital in Solon, Ohio.

With regard to Dr. Patrick’s representations, Playing Doctor notes that: Indiana University only has record of the plaintiff working as an unpaid volunteer not a full professor; plaintiff’s claimed special emergency training, from 1976 to 1978, under Dr. Heimlich was disavowed by Dr. Heimlich; Deaconess Hospital did not have a residency program during the period claimed by Dr. Patrick; hospital executives at the University of Cincinnati found no evidence of Dr. Patrick’s residency; Purdue University has neither a medical school nor a hospital; and, according to hospital sources at St. Luke’s, Dr. Patrick did not “establish” a family residency program when he was on faculty at that hospital.

The article also discusses Dr. Patrick’s job movement among various hospital emergency rooms across a number of states, traces the number of hospitals and staffing agencies which have sought to verify the plaintiff’s emergency medicine residency, surgical residency, and multi-year residency. The article also points to Dr. Patrick’s use of a significantly incorrect birth-date, making himself younger by ten years, for medical licenses in three separate states

...In conversation with Mr. Francis, Dr. Patrick referred to the Heimlich Maneuver as more accurately the “Patrick-Heimlich Maneuver.”

...In Playing Doctor, the main imputation of the article is twofold: the reported character of Dr. Patrick’s 1975 -1976 residency at Jewish Hospital raised questions about the degree of his participation in and the thoroughness of his residency training; and, Dr. Patrick’s representations of his medical training were either exaggerated or inaccurate.

...Although Dr. Patrick contends that the character of his medical training and his representation of his experience through his resume are not matters of public concern (Doc. 126), the Court finds that contention untenable. Not only is the matter of Dr. Patrick’s medical training an area of public concern, but the plaintiff himself has relied upon the representation of his training and experience to gain access to public forums, especially when discussing the genesis, development, dissemination and application of the exceedingly familiar Heimlich Maneuver.

Upon a review of the record, the Court finds both of the imputations from the article substantially true - that Dr. Patrick engaged in misrepresentations of his medical training, and questions remain regarding the extent of his participation in a residency program while assigned to Jewish Hospital in 1975-76.

...Further, Dr. Patrick has failed to establish the falsity of the article’s second imputation by clear and convincing evidence. The second imputation focused on Dr. Patrick’s participation in the residency program at Jewish Hospital and raised questions about the form of his participation and whether the residency was properly completed. That imputation was predicated on several sources: the lack of documentation at Jewish Hospital where Dr. Patrick’s file lacks actual rotations or evaluations; published reports on Dr. Patrick’s speciality as an electrical engineer and the computer research role he was to fulfill in Dr. Heimlich’s lab; evidence of Dr. Patrick’s competing outside activities at Purdue University and far-flung speaking engagements during his residency; and, interviews with hospital staff, including with Dr. Margolin, the then-Chief of Internal Medicine, who refused to sign Dr. Patrick’s residency certificates.

That’s longtime Cincinnati internist E. Gordon Margolin MD (now a professor at UC medschool), who was deposed in the case. From Judge Wells’s order:


Mr. Francis quoted Dr. Gordon Margolin, Chief of Internal Medicine at Jewish Hospital during Dr. Patrick’s residency, as finding the plaintiff’s presence “evanescent,” which is to say infinitesimal. Mr. Francis reported that Dr. Margolin refused to sign Dr. Patrick’s residency completion certificates on behalf of the hospital.

Also deposed were individuals whose names are familiar to the local health care community: physician assistant Mike Bowen, formerly of the Health Alliance, now at UC College of Medicine; Drs. Felix Canestri and Ed Matern, both formerly of Jewish Hospital; and attorney Tom Dilling, former Executive Director of the State Medical Board of Ohio, now legislative liason at the State Board of Nursing.

Dr. Henry Heimlich was also deposed at length. Interestingly, he was represented by attorney and right-wing activist Chris Finney.

Patrick’s next maneuver? The day after his case was tossed, Jeffrey & Randy Blankenship, the attorney brothers representing Dr. Patrick, filed a notice of intent to appeal

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  1. Rut Row says:

    Since Jewish Hospital said he did a residency there, and helped him get a license-when he really didn’t do one there, aren’t they liable for any actions taken against this guy? And what about the people who vouched for him? Aren’t they liable? Where does the buck stop with this one? I guess it is ok to just fake it and hurt people if your are the Health Alliance.

  2. anon says:

    From “Playing Doctor” by Thomas Francis, Cleveland Scene, 10/27/04:

    Peter Heimlich, son of Dr. Henry Heimlich, remembers Edward Patrick as a regular visitor to the family’s Cincinnati home in the early 1970s. The last few years, as he researched his father’s career, he kept encountering Patrick’s name.

    The Lima case looked suspicious to him, as did Patrick’s Jewish Hospital residency. So in June 2002, he filed a complaint against Patrick with the Ohio Medical Board.

    The board is heralded as one of the nation’s most stringent medical regulators, filing more actions against doctors than the board of any other populous state. Peter Heimlich was immediately put in touch with executive director Tom Dilling. “I thought, ‘Okay, I’ve come to the right place,’” he says.

    He had several long conference calls with Dilling and Mark Michael, an attorney with the Ohio Attorney General’s office.

    Dilling never questioned Peter Heimlich’s doubts about the Lima case or the Jewish Hospital residency. But according to Heimlich, Dilling said that “faking a residency was no big deal.” The board was more concerned with chasing doctors who wrote illegal prescriptions.

    “I was astonished,” says Peter Heimlich. “It seemed to me that the issue was whether an untrained doctor had access to emergency rooms in seven states, including Ohio. That was no big deal?”

    In September 2002, Dilling cut off communication, failing to return e-mails and letters. Two years later, Peter Heimlich still hasn’t heard back.

    Because medical-board complaints are confidential, Dilling won’t discuss Patrick or even confirm that an investigation occurred. But Dilling did say that, in 1976, the year that Patrick should have completed his residency, post-graduate training was not a requirement for licensure.

    Still, the board can pull the license of any physician who publishes false credentials. Given the glaring inconsistencies of Patrick’s resume, it’s amazing that it passed board scrutiny. Attorney General Betty Montgomery and her successor, Jim Petro, were also informed of Patrick’s history, but neither pursued a case against him.

    Patrick’s career is made all the more flammable due to the time that’s elapsed since his alleged Jewish residency. If it’s bogus, and if Jewish Hospital has nonetheless been verifying it all these years - even after suspicions were raised - it may be liable for all that Patrick has done in 28 years of emergency-room work.

    “In the case of an emergency-room doctor, the hospital is vouching to the public at large that it is staffed by people who are adequately trained, and we a s patients have to rely on that,” says Michael Djordjevic, a malpractice attorney in Akron. “What’s at stake here is potentially life and death.”

    And that could present legal consequences for Jewish Hospital - the expensive kind.

    It appears that Health Alliance, the corporate overseer of Jewish and five other Cincinnati hospitals, understands this problem. In September 2002, Gary Harris, general counsel for the Health Alliance, took the Patrick file. Today, Mike Bowen says that file is locked in Harris’s office, safe from the prying eyes of lawyers and reporters. Harris did not return phone calls.

  3. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) says:

    From Phil Heimlich: Illegally Disclosing Confidential Information?, The Beacon, 10/23/05:

    Yesterday, Peter Heimlich - Phil’s brother - sent letters to four state agencies requesting investigations into allegations that Phil illegally received confidential information from the Ohio Medical Board and/or the Attorney General’s office. Copies of Peter’s letters are online…It looks like Peter Heimlich became aware of a crime and believed his father was involved. He did the right thing, the courageous thing, by filing a complaint with the proper state agency. But then he got ratted out to Phil, who apparently passed the information on to Bob Kraft, Henry Heimlich’s press agent. For the last couple of years Kraft has been getting paid to squelch Peter’s efforts to bring out this and other stories about his father’s perverse career.

    Ex-Hamilton county commission president and ex-Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro’s one-time running mate Phil Heimlich now hosts “Hard Truths,” a Christian radio talk show.

    Bob Kraft, a former journalist, works for The Powers Agency, the local PR shop run by Lori Powers Graf.

    Last year Peter Heimlich was featured in an ABC 20/20 report by Brian Ross and runs the website, Outmaneuvered: How We Busted the Heimlich Medical Frauds.

  4. anon says:

    So, now Phil, who has proven to be a hypocrit as a politician and Christian, failed as an attorney to build a noteworthy career is now trying out to be an evangelist?  What a joke - go get a job, Phil and figure out life before you try to figure out God for the rest of us.

  5. Power of Prayer says:

    Sometimes, Prayer isn’t answered. It just leads you to a path that doens’t give you all the answers- it leads you down a path that makes you HAVE to stand up to answer all the questions before the truth is made clear. So Phil- time to do that before you can move forward.

    It is so obvious- that God is holding you back- to allow you to come clean with your life, your family, your career, yourself.
    So before you can get back on the bandwagon- you must stand before God and once again ask him for his guidence and help. You have a lot of making of to do to a lot of people for things you have done. And this lawsuit is just one of those messages you have been sent from him.

    Time to come clean with yourself or you will never have eternal peace.

  6. Answered Prayers says:

    The Health Alliance, Jewish Hospital, and the State Medical Board of Ohio may be saying prayers that the FBI, the Department of Health & Human Services, and civil attorneys don’t read the above article.

    FYI, Dr. Patrick is/was licensed in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina.

  7. Question says:

    Has this guy ever worked in hospitals in Cincinnati? If so, do we need to know if he ever touched any one in our families? This man is a monster. Plain and simple.
    Just look at all he has done.

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