Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Found: How to Restore Drowning Persons

From Houghtaling's Revised Hand-Book of Useful Information, compiled by Chas. E. Houghtaling, 1901:

How to Restore Drowning Persons

The frequency of accidents should induce every person, whether old or young, to learn the best means known to physicians for resuscitating those who are taken from the water. Just how long a person can lay in water and not be only asphyxiated but actually dead varies, as observation proves. Prompt, intelligent, and persevering means have failed to restore when they have been in the water three minutes; the same means have been successful when ten or more minutes have passed. The symptoms are the same in nearly all--respiration slow, labored or absent for minutes, pulseless, sometimes heart sounds are inaudible and yet they are not actually dead, as efforts to resustitate [sic] often proves. The following rules, laid down by Marshall Hall, the great Scotch philanthropist and physician, are generally used by the faculty and, as they are so easily understood and practiced, are both in this country and Europe placarded by boards of health in cities, around docks and vessels, and many a person has been saved by them.

First.--Treat the patient instantly on the spot, in the open air, freely exposing the face, neck, and chest to the breeze, except in severe weather.

Second.--In order to clear the throat, place the patient gently on the face, with one wrist under the forehead, that all fluid, and the tongue itself, may fall forward and leave the entrance into the windpipe free.

Third.--To excite respiration, turn the patient slightly on its side, and apply some irritating or stimulating agent to the nostrils, as veratrine, dilute ammonia, etc.

Fourth.--Make the face warm by brisk friction; then dash cold water upon it.

Fifth.--If not successful, lose no time, but, to imitate respiration, place the patient on his face, turn the body gently but completely on the side and a little beyond; then again on the face, and so alternately. Repeat this movement deliberately and perseveringly, fifteen times only in a minute. When the patient lies on the thorax, this cavity is compressed by the weight of the body and expiration takes place. When he is turned on the side this pressure is removed and inspiration occurs.

Sixth.--When the prone position is resumed, make a uniform and sufficient pressure along the spine, removing pressure immediately, before rotation to the side. (The pressure augments the expiration, the rotation commences inspiration). Continue these measures.

Seventh.--Rub the limbs upward, with firm pressure and with energy (the object being to rid the return of venous blood to the heart).

Eighth.--Substitute for the patient's wet clothing, if possible, such outer clothing as can be instantly procured, each bystander supplying a coat or cloak, etc. Meantime and from time to time, to excite expiration, let the surface of the body be slapped with the hand.

Ninth.--Rub the body briskly until it is dry and warm, then dash cold water upon it and repeat the rubbing.

Avoid immediate removal of the patient, as it involves a dangerous loss of time; also the use of bellows or any forcing instrument; also the warm bath and all rough treatment.

1 comment:

Liz-a-nator said...

How the hell did people survive drowning at all in 1901?