The Heimlich Maneuver for DROWNING
"You can't get air into the lungs until you get the water out!"
||VICTIM LYING ON GROUND|
1. Place victim on back. Turn face to one side to allow water to drain from mouth.
2. Facing victim, kneel astride victim's hips.
3. With one of your hands on top of the other, place the heel of your bottom hand on the abdomen below the rib cage and above the navel.
4. Use your body weight to press into the victim's abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Repeat until water no longer flows from the mouth.
|STANDING IN A POOL OR SHALLOW WATER
(Bouyancy of the Water Lightens Victims' Weight)
1. Stand behind the victim and wrap your arms around victim's waist.
2. Make a fist and place the thumb side of your fist against the victim's abdomen, below the rib cage and above the navel.
3. Grasp your fist with your other hand and press into the victim's abdomen with a quick upward thrust. Do not squeeze the ribcage; confine the force of the thrust to your hands.
4. Repeat until water no longer flows from the mouth.
|If the Victim has not recovered, proceed with CPR.|
The Victim should see a physician immediately after rescue.
Historical Footnote I:
This tragic story of scientific errors causing unnecessary deaths also occurred when the Heimlich Maneuver was introduced in 1974 to save choking persons. For 45 years, the Red Cross had been teaching backslaps for choking, which were proven to drive choking objects tighter into the airway, causing death. The advent of the Heimlich Maneuver exposed that error.
The Red Cross endorsed the Heimlich Maneuver for choking in 1975, but instructed rescuers to use four backslaps before the Maneuver. Subsequently a two-page story in The Washington Post told of a six-year-old boy choking on a sandwich. A teacher slapped his back and the boy became unconscious. The school nurse did the Heimlich Maneuver and the trapped food flew out, but it was too late. Brain damage had occurred from the lack of oxygen, and at age 15, he still was in a coma. The Harrisburg, PA, school system was sued and paid the largest financial settlement in the history of the city. Finally, in 1986, after Surgeon General Koop's declaration that Red Cross and Heart Association methods for choking were "hazardous, even lethal," the Standards and Guidelines dropped backslaps.
Historical Footnote II:In 1903, Dr. E. Sharpey Schafer of Edinburgh devised the prone-pressure method of artificial respiration, which was used throughout the world until 1961 (when the Red Cross and others adopted CPR). The Schafer method placed the drowning victim face down on the ground and applied pressure by pushing with the palms on the small of the back. Previous methods included rolling a drowning person face down over a barrel and, in Germany, draping the victim face down over a trotting horse. All these effective methods were crude Heimlich Maneuvers--pushing upward intermittently on the diaphragm, expelling water from the lungs.