science could have saved itself a lot of trouble if the powers that be had consulted
my incredibly talented housekeeper, Josefina,
before rescinding the tried-and-true method of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
is the woman who, when I was bitten by a scorpion and hysterically yelling for
help, simply went to the top shelf of her kitchen cabinet, withdrew a glass jar
containing a dead scorpion in sticky fluid, and applied the fluid to my wound.
"Voila!" The pain immediately subsided, and that was the end of my trauma. The
greatest cook in the world had become the greatest doctor in the world. Those
medical people could learn a great deal from Josefina's common sense, thereby
eliminating the need to change their minds so frequently.
Every now and
then, medical science reverses itself and we find out we've been doing something
wrong all this time and didn't know it.
This week's announcement that
CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) has been done backwards for years was a typical
shocker and leaves us wondering if, in attempting to save a victim, we've accidentally
killed the poor slob.
CPR has been taught in schools, businesses, and
hospitals for decades, and practiced by ordinary people whenever they saw someone
in distress. Rescuers were taught to first check the airway of the victim and
give two rescue breaths, and then start with a set of 30 chest compressions. This
previously used system was called the "A-B-C" method. It seemed to be just fine.
However, in the immortal words of George Gershwin, medical science is now humming,
"It ain't necessarily so".
The American Heart Association has announced
a new set of guidelines for rescuers who are administering CPR. News agencies
are reporting that, under the new standard, emergency responders are advised to
start with 30 chest compressions and then check the victim's airway and give two
rescue breaths. In other words, so that we don't do it backwards anymore, we must
now, um, do it backwards. The new guidelines are published as an addendum to the
current issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association.
things even more confusing, the old A-B-C method is still to be used on infants,
but for adults and children, we are advised to use the new C-A-B system.
able to do more for a victim and do it faster, why doesn't the medical community
ask her how she'd handle somebody requiring CPR? Instead of A-B-C or C-A-B, this
is probably how it would go:
*** After an accident, Josefina steps up
to help a victim. She's pushed aside by a man who announces, "Step back please!
I'm trained in CPR."
quietly watches his A-B-C (or C-A-B) system for a few moments, and then taps him
on the shoulder. "When you get to the part about calling a doctor," she'd say,
"I'm already here."
*** If that didn't work, she could always whisper
into the ear of the victim, "If you get up, I'll make you some banana pancakes."
And, if that doesn't work either, the guy's probably already dead.
Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
Balloon In Cactus"
October 22, 2010 column
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