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persistent efforts to resuscitate the drowned and to repeat with emphasis one direction of the bulletin : 'Do not give up too soon; you are working for life. Any time within two hours you may be on the very threshold of success without there being any sign of it.'
6. The efforts which are successful in restoring a human being to life certainly are not useless, and it is wicked to refuse or neglect to make such efforts, unless the absolute certainty of death is established. It is not enough to say that the person appears to be dead. Persons who gave no signs of life for a long time after being taken out of the water have yet been brought to life by appropriate efforts. I most earnestly protest against treating the drowned as dead merely because they appear lifeless.
I am fully persuaded that many such persons die because no adequate efforts are made for their recovery. Persons may swoon, and for a time appear to be dead, but we do not assume that they are dead and leave them to their fate, but make energetic efforts to restore consciousness. No more should we assume the fact of death in the drowned, but should make like efforts to restore them to life.
HOW NOT TO DROWN.
"How to drown is an art that seems to be well understood and frequently practiced the world over. How not to drown is an art not so well understood, and requires some notice at the hands of this board. Drowning could be prevented if we could secure either of the following conditions: 1. That everybody should know how to swim. 2. That nobody should ever go into the water. But as we cannot secure either of these conditions in the present order of things, we turn our attention to some means of reducing these accidents to their minimum of danger.
- Much good advice is often thrown away upon persons who find themselves suddenly thrown into the water : Keep cool;' • Do not lose your presence of mind,' etc. The conditions are very favorable to follow the first advice in a literal sense, for the water itself will assist one to get cool and to keep so indefinitely; but when a person is suddenly compelled to face death in an unexpected form, the advice to ' preserve your presence of mind'
is usually driven out of the mind by overwhelming terror, and the person too often becomes absent-minded in an awfully literal sense of the word.
“The solids and liquids of the body are all heavier than water, but the living body, on account of the air in the lungs, stomach, and bowels, is slightly lighter than water; and so long as these cavities remain filled with air, the body will float in water, and a small part of the body can be kept above the water. While it is true that so long as the lungs, etc., are filled with air, the body is lighter than water, the difference in specific gravity is small, and only a small part of the body will float above water. What part will be above water depends upon the relative position of other parts of the body; if the legs are flexed and the arms thrown in front of the body, the center of gravity is in the anterior portion of the body, and the top of the shoulders and back of the head only will be above water; the face being under water, respiration will be impossible under such circumstances. But if the legs are straightened out and the arms thrown behind the body, the face will be brought above the water. In the attempt to float, therefore, the legs should be straightened out, the head thrown back, and the arms held behind the body; the face will then float above the water so long as this position is maintained. If one part of the body is thrown out of the water, a corresponding amount of the body will be submerged ; if the arms are held out of the water, the head will go under. I remember the case of a boy who thought he could greatly increase his power to swim by tying an inflated bladder to each foot, but when he entered the water he came near drowning, because his feet were kept out of the water, but his head under water, and he soon became practically convinced that it was important that his head rather than his heels should be in the air.
“ If the mouth and nose are kept above water, respiration may go on without interruption, and life may be sustained indefinitely under such circumstances. This may be secured in still water by merely floating with the face upward, every other part of the body being kept constantly under water. little exertion a person may do more than keep his nose above water, even if he is ignorant of the art of swimming. I have
But with very
seen persons “tread water' by making the same movements with the legs as in walking up stairs, and thus keep the entire head out of water for a long time. If a person will add to this certain corresponding movements of the hands, – in fact, make the same movements of both arms and legs that he would in climbing a vertical ladder, but without lifting the arms out of the water and without closing his hands in the downward movement of the arms,
he may keep his head out of the water even when the waves are running high, and may keep from drowning for hours. Whenever a person finds himself in the water and in danger of drowning, let him assume as speedily as possible a vertical position, and at once begin the same movements as in climbing a vertical ladder, - let him climb for life, and he ,
will be surprised to find with what slight exertion he can keep his head above water; let him be satisfied with this, for he may exhaust himself in vainly attempting to do more.”
PADDLING THE WATER AS A MEANS OF AVERTING DROWNING.
The following communicatian from Dr. MacCormac, of Belfast, is inserted as imparting valuable information on this important subject :
“ Already the season has been ushered in by a number of deaths, some of them occurring in our very midst, from drowning. The means of safety, or relative safety, which I have to point out are so very simple and, as I believe, so effective, that I am lost in wonder that no one has thought proper to insist upon them, as in the following remarks it is my intention to do. Swimming, as ordinarily practiced, is not the most sufficing means for escaping the dangers of the water. It needs some instruction to be able to swim, and practice to be able to swim well. No doubt it is desirable to swim and to swim well, but the great majority of persons of both sexes do not know how to swim at all. Yet unless people can swim and swim well, — and even then they are not always successful, when the emergency comes, in preserving life, --- swimming is, I am persuaded, not so effective a preservative as is conjoint paddling and treading water. . As a rule subject to few exceptions, persons precipitated into the water do not swim without previously learning. But paddling with the hands
and treading with the feet require no prior instruction, and in the great majority of cases would save life. In swimming, the mouth is on a level with the water in the intervals of the strokes; in paddling, the head is well elevated, the individual is able to look about, he can deliberate as to what is best to be done, and he is much less liable to take water into the larynx or glottis, a casualty which, I am persuaded, causes the destruction of many. Without prejudice to the art of swimming, I would have children exercise in household tanks from the tenderest age, in the act of paddling and treading water, so as to impart the confidence which unreasoning dread tends to lessen or take away when one is suddenly immersed in an unusual medium. The animal, the quadruped, begins to paddle at once when cast into the water, but as man does not habitually employ the anterior limbs as organs of locomotion, reason must tell him that he may, if he pleases, employ them as organs of locomotion in the water, just as readily as any four-footed animal. To be sure, a man has not the habit of using his hands and arms for locomotion, as the brute has, but otherwise how much more available is the paddleshaped hand than a hoof or a paw. Again, the man with little or no instruction, by throwing his head well back, can float and rest at pleasure, a thing of which the brute has no conception whatever.
“Of course a little preliminary habitude is desirable, but without any preliminary habitude whatever, there is nothing to hinder man, woman, or child, were they unable, in common parlance, to swim a stroke, from beating water with the hands and feet, just as the lower animals do, and so keep themselves afloat tracted period, a period that in a multitude of instances would be found sufficient to invite rescue and preserve life. The action of the feet down will sustain the body; the action of the hands down will do so; a fortiori, the action of both will prove yet more effective. I have tried myself, one alone, or both together, nay, with a single hand only, in bygone years, I am sure, hundreds of times. There is no occasion for fuss or bustle. The body, taken as a whole, is actually lighter than water, bulk for bulk, and a very moderate amount of paddling with feet and hands will be found perfectly adequate to sustain and guide its
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movements. In fact, so long as the individual paddles, as I here direct, he cannot sink. A horse, or dog, or cow, or, cat, or swine, when immersed in water, begins instantly to paddle, and that without any prior instruction or exercise whatever. Now a man, or woman, or child has only to do as the inferior animal does, and he, or she, or it will float necessarily and inevitably. The place being otherwise safe and boats at hand, boats' and ships' crews, a regiment of soldiers, schools, and the like, might jump into deep water and paddle themselves into security without risk or failure. In this, as in many other things, man is too often unaware of his own immense capacities.
“ Animals not habituated to the water will often take to it spontaneously, or, if cast into it, sustain themselves for indefinite periods. Dogs often gain the shore when ships and their crews have been lost. Some years ago a dog landed at the Cape of Good Hope with a letter in his mouth. The vessel to which he belonged had gone down with all hands, but if the men had paddled as the dog paddled, all their lives might have been preserved. Indeed, I know for certain that formerly it was the practice at the Cape for men to paddle out, it was termed 'treading water,' and bear communications to and from vessels in the offing, where no boat could live. It was, and I believe is still, the case at Madras, similarly. Natives at the Island of Ioanna, in the Mozambique Channel, treading water, come out, bearing fruit on their heads to the vessels, miles distant. The young people in the islands of the Pacific breast the gigantic breakers out of mere sport. The Indians of the Upper Missouri traverse the impetuous current, invariably paddling and treading water.
“ Short instructions for paddling and treading water ought to be posted up in all schools, barracks and bathing places; wherever, in short, people have to do with the sea or with masses of water. It should be shown how easy it is, with a little well-directed effort, to preserve life, and how the yearly and calamitous destruction which besets our shores might now, and haply for all time to come, be effectively stayed.”
One precaution is necessary for a person who is paddling and treading water, to avoid strangling ; when cold water is suddenly dashed into the face, an automatic or involuntary inspiratory