Wednesday, April 6, 2016

1792: Curry confirms importance of breathing during artificial during resuscitation

Dr. James Curry obtained all the data of the various societies and came to a variety of conclusions of which he reported to the medical community in 1792 and 1815.  He confirmed that warming the victim was the single most important part of rescue attempts.  (14, pages 36-7)

This verification, partly due to lack of anatomical and pathological knowledge, further stalled the initiation of providing artificial breaths in many instances, and, perhaps, to the detriment of many victims.  As noted above, there was no rush to perform any of these procedures.  There were, in fact, many reported instances where breaths were note given until one or two hours after the person was pulled from danger.

Although, as Curry explained, once better pathological knowledge of the body was obtained, such that circulation of the vital principles (air, oxygen) is vital to sustenance of life, it was learned that "merely restoring Heat to the body, will not renew all the functions necessary to Life."  (14, page 36-37)

It was thus learned that efforts to imitate natural breathing were of superior importance to warming the victim.  (14, page 36-37)

Breathing, therefore, was ultimately viewed by the Humane Society as the "most important part of the process of Resuscitation. As soon as the temperature of the surface has been somewhat raised by means of artificial warmth, about which no time should be lost, early inflation of the lungs is of great consequence. 

Still, if the body be not above the temperature of the surrounding medium in cold weather, its success is very precarious. The temperature of the surface being once raised, artificial warmth and artificial respiration should be simultaneously employed." (12, page 5)

Curry worded it this way: (14, page 37)
In every case of apparent death, the instituting an artificial breathing, by assiduously inflating the lungs with fresh air, is one of the first and most necessary measures to be taken for recovery. (14, page 37)
So, by the advice of Curry, artificial breathing ultimately became the main priority upon removing the victim from eminent danger.  The other methods were either scrapped or moved down the priority list.

References:  See post "1774:  The birth of the Royal Humane Society"

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