Restoring Animation in Persons Apparently Drowned - After-care

Restoring Animation in Drowning Cases. A person rescued from the water often appears to be dead, but prompt efforts should be made to restore animation, for persons have been "called back" after ten, and even fifteen minutes' immersion.

The work of resuscitation has four distinct parts:

(a) Clearing the air passages.

(b) Inducing respiration.

(c) Restoring circulation.

(d) After-care. The air passages are first cleared by wiping out the mouth so as to remove water, mud, weeds, and froth. Loosen the garments round the upper part of the body. Bend the patient's right arm to lie across his forehead, roll up a coat or rug, and place it by the patient's side on a level with his shoulders. Turn the patient over, face downwards, resting-on the forearm and the folded rug, press with the hands on the patient's, back over the lower ribs, and keep up the pressure for three seconds, turn the patient on to his right side, and keep him there for two seconds. Repeat these two movements alternately until froth and water cease to flow from the mouth. Maintain a free passage for the air by opening the patient's mouth and drawing out the tongue, which must be kept out by means of an elastic band passing under the chin, or by a helper's hand.

There are several recognised methods of inducing respiration, but the simplest and best known is that named after Dr. Sylvester. Lay the patient on his back with the rolled coat under his shoulder blades. Take up a position beyond the head of the patient (Fig. 4), grasp the arms firmly near the elbows, raise the arms upwards by the side of the head, and keep them there for two seconds. This enlarges the chest capacity, and air must perforce enter the lungs. Bend back the patient's arms and press them firmly, but gently, against the sides of the chest for two seconds (Fig. 5). This decreases the chest capacity, and air is forced out. Repeat these two movements alternately until there is a spontaneous effort to respire. Tickling the throat with a feather, holding smelling salts to the nose, rubbing the chest and face briskly, or dashing warm and cold water alternately over the chest are valuable aids. When respiration proceeds naturally the attention must be turned to restoring the circulation. Wrap the patient in warn, dry blankets, and rub the limbs briskly. Apply hot-water bottles, hot bricks, and hot flannels to the pit of the stomach, the armpits, and the soles of the feet. When the patient is able to swallow give a teaspoonful of brandy and water, wine, or hot coffee, and if the patient seems inclined to doze let him have every chance of undisturbed sleep.

Fig. 5. Restoring respiration: second position

Fig. 5. Restoring respiration: second position. I his movement decreases the chest capacity and air is forced out of the lungs air enters the lungs

Fig. 4. The Sylvester method of restoring the apparently drowned by artificial respiration

Fig. 4. The Sylvester method of restoring the apparently drowned by artificial respiration: first position. By this movement the chest capacity is enlarged and After-care should take the form of light diet and a quiet time in a warm room.