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Sudden Death and the Myth of CPR Paperback – Jul 19 1999
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"Out of his immersion in the sequestered inner world of the hospital emergency departments where sudden death and resuscitative efforts generally take place, Timmermans arrives at illuminating philosophical and sociological insights into how we all are, and ought to be, implicated in these processes, and admirable suggestions about how we can help to make them more dignified, consoling, and meaningful." --Renee C. Fox, Annenberg Professor Emerita of the Social Sciences, University of Pennsylvania "This deeply disturbing book documents the failure of modern society to deal with sudden death. Timmermans combines ethnographic observations in various Emergency Rooms with a detailed history of the emergence of CPR to debunk the myth that CPR is successful. Timmermans is a wise and humane guide through the tricky ethical issues surrounding sudden death. He argues for a new ethical code to restore dignity and choice to the dying process. This important and insightful book deserves to become a classic in medical sociology." --Trevor Pinch, Cornell University "A compassionate, meticulous portrayal of sudden death. Heroics are entirely banished in this first-ever ethnography of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and the record is set straight through a skillful, eye-opening account of the routines and practices of emergency medicine... [T]his is an indispensable read for social scientists and historians of technology and medicine, and also for specialists in emergency medicine and health-care professionals involved with death and dying." --Margaret Lock, author of the award-winning Encounters with Aging: Mythologies of Menopause in Japan and North America
About the Author
Stefan Timmermans is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Top Customer Reviews
1)"Knickerbocker...noticed that the dogs' blood pressure would increase when he put the heavy fifteen-pound paddles" (50)
2)"...or a prolonged pulseless anginal rhythm..." (122)
3)"LANKER: She must not even have a 60 [heart rate]. JOHNSON: Well, I feel a carotid [pulse]. So it should be at least a 60." (142)
While these examples seem small, the inaccuracies can seriously damage the author's credibility. Using the above examples, here's why:
1) The paddles DID NOT weigh fifteen pounds! The doctor needed to APPLY 15 POUNDS OF PRESSURE to the dogs chest to activate a safety switch. This is what caused the blood pressure to suddenly peak in the dog. We still apply several pounds of pressure to defibrillator paddles today; if the author had read a advanced cardiac resuscitation book he would learn of this.
2)Angina is the wrong word. Angina, or "heart pain" has nothing to do with the situation. Rather, the word should be "agonal" which means "dying".
3)When the nurse here says "60", she is not referring to the heart rate, but blood pressure. (We know this by reading the next line.) There is a big difference between the two, and the difference has clinical significance. (Traditionally, a carotid [neck] pulse, which is mentioned in the next line, indicates that the blood pressure is at least 60mmg.)
The book comes to some very strange conclusions ("Mouth to mouth remains an unarousing sexual act" Page 93) and some vivid and imaginative descriptions of CPR. ("CPR is unusual in the way it brings strangers into intimate contact.Read more ›
Please! Dignity is for bystanders who don't want their sensibilities upset, not for the guy on the stretcher. I know. I was that guy. I may hold the world record for being revived. During a massive heart attack, I was defibrillated 72 times. It took almost three hours of work to bring me back. And guess what? I wasn't the slightest bit concerned with dignity. I just wanted them to keep working until they got me back.
Did I care if my chest was fried from the voltage? No.
Did I care that they stripped me and half a dozen people were handling me? No.
All I cared about was getting back so I could see my wife and I didn't give a tinker's damn what they did to me. Now, it's five years later and I am healthy.
Yes, only a fraction of people who arrest survive resuscitation. But some do. Resuscitation, by definition, is a last-ditch, desperate measure. Admittedly, most victims won't make it. But that's not why we do it. We do it for the ones who DO make it....
Most recent customer reviews
This book has many strong points-the history of resuscitation is an excellent resource in this book. Read morePublished on May 10 2000
Of the roughly 400,000 "sudden deaths" in the United States each year, only about 1-3% of those undergoing CPR outside the hospital survive. Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2000 by David Graham
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