This section is from the book "Smith's Family Physician", by William Henry Smith. See also: Natural Physician's Healing Therapies: Proven Remedies that Medical Doctors Don't Know.
If respiration has ceased, it should instantly be commenced artificially; at the same time the body should be wiped dry, and be assiduously rubbed with hot cloths. Hot bricks should be applied to the feet, and bottles of hot water in the armpits and between the thighs; and a warm injection of Turpentine may be given. As soon as the patient can swallow, he should have a little wine and water; and soon afterwards an emetic of mustard, to clear the stomach of the water which he has swallowed, and to restore the circulation by the stimulus of vomiting. A case is related in which life was restored by the most persevering friction, which was kept up for eight hours before the exertions of the surgeon were rewarded by a return of respiration.
Artificial respiration is required in all cases of suspended animation. There are different modes of producing it. Some experiments were recently tried at St. George's Hospital, by a committee appointed by the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society, to ascertain the best and most effectual mode of inflating and emptying the chest during insensibility. Eighty-three different trials were made, • according to the methods of Drs. Silvester, Bain, and Pacini. The committee came to the conclusion that either mode was effectual. In Dr. Silvester's method, the patient lies on the back, the operator takes hold of his arms and raises them, which expands the chest; he then brings the arms down to the side of the body, which causes the chest to contract, and forces out the air. Dr. Bain's method is similar in principle: "The patient being laid on his back on a table, if convenient, the mouth and nostrils are to be wiped dry, and the clothes, from the upper part of the body at least, having been removed, the operator stands at the head of the patient, placing the fingers of each hand in the armpits, with the thumbs on the collar bones, and pulls the shoulders horizontally towards him with a certain degree of power. (This expands the chest, and allows the introduction of air.) Upon relaxing his pull the shoulders and chest return to their original state."
The old method was to put a pipe into one nostril, and then, closing the mouth and the other nostril, to fill the lungs by blowing into the pipe; or by using a small pair of bellows for that purpose. The operator should be careful to force the air into the lungs very gently. If the windpipe has been crushed by a rope, or by a violent blow, it may be necessary to make an opening in it, but not otherwise.