Stayin Alive

It’s nice to have a nurse or two in the family, so during our recent mini family reunion, we learned how to save someone from choking and how to revive them when they have stopped breathing or their heart has stopped beating.

Aunt Linda, who is Red Cross certified, began the lesson with a video, and then moved onto the meat of the lesson.

She explained that we no longer need to pinch and breathe into someone’s mouth, telling us that simply doing chest compressions is sufficient to get air moving and hopefully revive an arrested heart. I never liked the idea of breathing into a stranger’s mouth so this was nice to learn. Coincidentally, since it is our 40th-anniversary-celebration week, one of the big hits of 1978 is the song which is associated with CPR—Stayin Alive. We learned that after calling 911, we compress the victim’s chest in time to the beat of Stayin Alive. (For a child, compress before calling)

We then moved on to learning about the use of abdominal thrusts, which we all know as “the Heimlich maneuver.” I could not recall precisely from Nurse Linda why the Red Cross method is not referred to as the Heimlich method, so I researched it.

She taught us to hit on the choking victim’s back 5 times and then perform the abdominal thrusts. This method apparently shocked Dr. Henry Heimlich, who was horrified by the slaps, claiming that no evidence existed to support the back-slapping, so he wanted his name removed from the method taught by the Red Cross.

It turns out that no studies have ever been done comparing the effectiveness of both methods side-by-side, so Dr. Heimlich died 2 years ago still at war with the ARC. I will use what I was taught by Nurse Linda! I hope to never need to use this lesson.

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