Archive for May 26th, 2009

Restoring Suspended Animation: How to Save Someone Who has Drowned

May 26, 2009

barrell-on-dock-san-diego

Stuff they don’t teach you in contemporary First Aid classes:

Restoring Suspended Animation.
As the season is now approaching, when cases of drowning are most frequent, the following hints, which we have derived from the best authority, may be useful.

As the rude attempts of well meaning persons, to restore suspended animation, from drowning, are often quite as likely to extinguish life as to restore it, we have thought that we could not better serve the cause of humanity, than by publishing a few plain directions, for the guidance of those bystanders, on such accidents, till the assistance of a physician could be procured. We are reminded of this duty, by a fact that occurred only a day or two ago, when the first act of the persons around, on fishing out the body, was to roll it in a barrel, a proceeding generally murderous in its consequences.

1. The atrocious custom of suspending the body by the heels, or rolling it in a barrel, is not to be thought of; but carefully and quickly remove the body to a warm and dry room.

2. Cut off the wet clothes of the patient; place him on a low bed, on his right side, with the head slightly raised, and gently separate the jaws, to allow the escape of any water in the mouth or nostrils.

3. Endeavor to restore heat slowly to the body, by applying a bottle filled with hot water to the pit of the stomach, hot bricks to the soles of the feet, and frictions, with hot flannels or a soft brush, over the whole body.

4. Tickle the lips and the nostrils with a feather, or some other light body, dipped in hartshorn.

5. If these attempts do not succeed in restoring some degree of animation, burn small pieces of paper over the pit of the stomach, and on the thighs and arms.

6. If sensibility be restored, give a tablespoonful of camphorated brandy; or cologne water, diluted with two parts of water, every five minutes, but be careful to avoid forcing the patient to drink, while there is much difficulty in swallowing.

7. If sensibility be not restored, and the face is red or purple,  the limbs flexible and warm, bleed him, but do not resort to this remedy if the body is cold and stiff.

8. Tobacco is not to be used under any circumstances.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio)  July 23,  1839

I guess rolling them in salt as a remedy had already fallen by the wayside.