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Additional resources for Cardiac arrest: the science and practice of resuscitation medicine
27 Despite all the shortcomings and ill-advised notions on treatment, efforts to prevent death from drowning were nevertheless effective. Herholdt and Rafn28 reported in a landmark publication of 1796 that 990 lives had been saved by 1793, with a survival rate over the previous 9 years of 50%. The efforts showed commitment and ingenuity. The amphibious craft illustrated in Herholdt and Rafn’s book (Fig. 3) was used to move quickly over rough ice to reach drowning victims; if the ice gave way, the rescuer himself would not be at risk because he had a safe haven all around him.
Students were taught that once patients had succumbed they were beyond the healing arts. Only relatively recently have physicians regularly attempted to wrest such patients back from death. Accurate numbers are diﬃcult to obtain. It is said that more than 300,000 persons die each year from sudden cardiac death in the United States alone. Worldwide the figure is in the millions. Sudden death is not, however, caused by coronary artery disease alone. Hemorrhage and asphyxiation, among others, can kill physiologically competent patients without warning.
I kept on because they had to do a tracheostomy. He was just totally unable to swallow; he had bulbar polio. With a zealot’s passion he spoke of the value of mouth-tonose ventilation whenever he could, drawing attention to the ineffectiveness of the Holger Nielsen method. To prove that exhaled air was adequate to oxygenate a nonbreathing person, Elam obtained permission to do studies on postoperative surgical patients before they recovered from ether anesthesia. The tracheal tube was left in place and succinyl choline was continued as a drip.