Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Now I've learned my ABCs


I spent all day up at the nursing school in CPR training class. It's a requirement for entering the upper-division sequence and rightly so. Healthcare workers take a more intensive form of the class, hence the eight hour length and my classmates and I were lucky to have a fellow nursing student as an instructor. Her stories and explanations were great.

Of course we covered the ABCs (airway, breathing, circulation), proper execution of CPR, and choking rescue, but also the use of automated external defibrillators. Those things are rad. In addition, I also learned a couple unexpected things today.

First is that a person with no pulse who isn't breathing is dead. We, the general public, like to think of a person who just slipped into this state as alive yet in serious trouble. Nope, they're dead. This is the basis for idea that when trying to bring this person back, there isn't much you can do to make them worse off. It's why cracking ribs while performing chest compressions is perfectly acceptable.

The second interesting thing is that the Heimlich maneuver, as a name, is losing ground in favor of "choking rescue". A quick on-line search reveals that Dr. Heimlich might have stolen the idea from a colleague, and that he definitely engaged in gross ethical violations by injecting malarial blood into patients with HIV in secret medical "trials" held outside the US. So associating a wonderful life-saving measure with a total wackjob (whose own son is a leading critic)? Maybe not so much.


  1. With all the talk about making sure victims don't aspirate vomit into their lungs, any hint of romance went right out the window.