Saturday, January 28, 2006

A shock to the chest

I was flipping through my CPR manual today when I came across a wince-inducing, yet funny-in-a-Steve-Carell-kind-of-way notation in the Automated External Defibrillation chapter. AEDs are widely available now so that non-professionals can shock people in ventricular fibrillation (ER fans will recognize this as "V fib") back to a normal heart rhythm.

Sometimes the user can run into a problem though, I mean besides the dying person lying the ground. To whit:
Foundation Facts: The Hairy Chest Problem

If the victim has a hairy chest, the adhesive electrode pads may stick to the hair of the chest, preventing solid contact with the skin. This will lead to a "check electrodes" or "check electrode pads" message from the AED. If you receive such a message, try the following:

  • Press down firmly on each pad. This may produce sufficient adhesion between the pad and the skin to solve the problem.

  • If unsuccessful, briskly pull off the electrode pads. This will remove much of the chest hair.

  • Wipe the area and if a lot of hair remains, shave the area for electrode pad placement with a few strokes of the prep razor in the AED carrying case. Open and apply a new set of electrode pads.
That whole "briskly pull off the electrode pads" is the ugly part. Though to be fair, the victim is unlikely to care too much what with the severe internal chest pain.

Still, sucks to be Alec Baldwin.

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