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Q: Dealing with Drowning Victims Prior to Invention of CPR ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Dealing with Drowning Victims Prior to Invention of CPR
Category: Health > Medicine
Asked by: hyakprods-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 11 Dec 2004 03:19 PST
Expires: 10 Jan 2005 03:19 PST
Question ID: 441207
What was the common medical practice used when trying to save the life
of a drowning victim in the 1930s before CPR was invented?
Subject: Re: Dealing with Drowning Victims Prior to Invention of CPR
Answered By: thx1138-ga on 11 Dec 2004 04:40 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello hyakprods and thank you for your question.

In the 1930s there were several methods used when trying to save the life
of a drowning victim, but the most popular seems to have been the
"Prone-Pressure Method" that was developed by Dr. E. Sharpey Schafer
in 1903 and was used up until 1961.

"Historical Footnote II
In 1903, Dr. E. Sharpey Schafer of Edinburgh devised the
prone-pressure method of artificial respiration, which was used
throughout the world until 1961 (when the Red Cross and others adopted
CPR). The Schafer method placed the drowning victim face down on the
ground and applied pressure by pushing with the palms on the small of
the back. Previous methods included rolling a drowning person face
down over a barrel and, in Germany, draping the victim face down over
a trotting horse. All these effective methods were crude Heimlich
Maneuvers - pushing upward intermittently on the diaphragm, expelling
water from the lungs. "

"As part of his plans for the waterproofing of Rhode Island, he began
to teach a new method of artificial respiration that he considered
superior to all other methods then in use in the United States. The
new method had been devised by Edward Sharpey Schafer, an anatomist at
the University of Edinburgh, who later was knighted for his
contribution to the saving of life. The Schafer method called for
placing the victim in a prone position and applying pressure to his
back just below the diaphragm. With modifications, this method became
known as the prone-pressure method and, because of its simplicity and
ease of application, was readily accepted by the public."

"From the mid 1800's through the late 1930's, methods involving
pressing on the victims back became popular. The best known of these,
"Schaeffer Prone Pressure Method," involved just back pressure. Later,
the "Hogler-Nielson" method added lifting the arms. "

Science News
"From the July 5, 1930, issue"
"In emergencies the old prone-pressure method of starting breathing in
a patient who has been suffocated or rescued from drowning will still
be used. The new apparatus is intended for those cases in which
artificial respiration must be kept up for days at a time."

Thank you for your question, and if you need any clarification of my
answer, do not hesitate to ask before rating my answer.

Very best regards.


Search strategy included:
"1930s" "first aid" drowning
hyakprods-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Exactly what I wanted to know.  Thanks!

Subject: Re: Dealing with Drowning Victims Prior to Invention of CPR
From: neilzero-ga on 11 Dec 2004 05:29 PST
In 1949, The American Red Cross taught me the Back Pressure Arm Lift
method, which was the Shaffer method with a 2nd person lifting the
chest of the victum by pulling upward on the arms. This allowed more
air to enter the lungs in between the back pressure strokes. This was
repeated 12 times per minute on adults, 16 times on children. I think
this method was widely used until CPR in 1961. With all methods, it is
important to clear the mouth with a finger, as the victum's tongue can
block the air passage and foreign debris is possible.  Neil

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