History of First Aid (Part 3)
The third and final installment of the history of first aid takes us into the modern day. In the 21st century first aid has evolved further from the battlefield to being able to empower the general public to save lives. Networks of first aider’s now wander the streets ready to do just that.
Before we learnt about Major Peter Sheppard who is thought to of given the first lectures on the subject of first aid in Woolwich, London in the late 1800’s. Did major Sheppard ever believe that first aid lectures would eventually touch every corner of the globe?
Today it is hard to imagine an industry that is not involved in first aid training. Most people if not having been on a training course themselves would know someone who has. Modern day teachings have evolved since the early days in Woolwich. Yet the principle of teaching a group of people remains exactly the same.
Henry Heimlich was fed up with the 1000’s of deaths that were occuring from choking and in 1974 created his own solution.
Dubbed the Heimlich maneuver it involves pushing hard into the abdomen, whilst at the same time lifting, to create an upwards rush of air. This resulting airlift can dislodge a foreign object and allow the casualty to once again breathe normally.
The technique was eventually adopted globally and saves 1000’s of lives each year. Sadly Henry recently passed away but his legacy will always live on.
One of the main ways that training evolved was through the use of resuscitation manikins. These impressive devices come with inflatable lungs and compressible chests for practicing CPR.
Over the years the dummies have been made more life-like to resemble the pushing motion on a real life casualty's chest. Some models are now linked to computers to record a learners performance, and it is even thought that future models will be linked to virtual reality.
The Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is the true winner of the history of first aid. The late Frank Pantridge invented the device in 1968 after discovering that most of his cardiac patients were dying and needed treatment before they got to hospital.
The AED is the only proven method of treating ventricular fibrillation. The machine can read the hearts rhythm and then deliver an electrical shock to someone whilst in cardiac arrest.
Today there are millions of units worldwide which are used every day to save lives. You can't end this guide on a better note than that.