Forum: Medicine in Middle Earth

Discussing: CPR in middle-earth

CPR in middle-earth

I have several stories where the characters suffer various injuries and accidents, to say nothing of battle wounds. I have only a layman's knowledge of medicine and a first-aid course to rely on, and would appreciate a little feedback.

In a current story, someone (you'll have to read it to find out who!) has fallen in the Enchanted River, and has stopped breathing. Would CPR work, would they know about it, and what long-term effects might there be? I'm thinking 'not breathing' for about two minutes, no longer. Any comments?

Jay, I happened upon your 'medicine in middle-earth' discussion today, and I assume it was posted a while ago and I missed it. Or it may not have shown up since there was no inital topic posted, I'm not sure how that works.

Did you still want answers, or is this from a long-finished fic? If it's from a current one, you asked someone to read it over, but I don't know which fic and which chapter is in question; I'll make some general comments about the topic.

CPR is very modern, first developed in the 1950s. Mouth to mouth resuscitation without the cardiac compressions is older, supposedly used by some midwives on newborns in ancient times, but fell out of practice until the 1950s. You could probably get by with mouth to mouth, but I wouldn't recommend messing with the cardiac part.

Not breathing for two minutes should have no long term problems; the magic number is 4 to 6 minutes. This assumes a human, or a race with human-like reactions.

If you have further medical questions, you can post them in your discussion, or in the Medical questions and terminology topic in the Research Questions forum in resources - I'm sure to notice that one when new questions are posted.

Hope this helps.




Re: CPR in middle-earth

Thanks for the reply, Lyllyn.

What you have said confirms what I more or less thought. I don't intend any long term damage to my 'victim' (Elrohir), but it's meant to be a rather worrying moment for all concerned.

BTW, the story is 'With Friends Like These' on (specifically chapter 11.) Is the procedure as described plausible? I'm using memories of a mostly-forgotten first aid course.

Thanks again,




Re: CPR in middle-earth

Is the procedure as described plausible? I'm using memories of a mostly-forgotten first aid course.

Your description is very plausible, obviously your memory is good!




Re: CPR in middle-earth

Hi, Jay. I too saw this post just today. As I passed an Advanced CPR course recently, I had to jump in. Lyllyn is right, the CPR is more or less a modern concept. However, when it comes to people that fall in water, sailors in the past have used several techniques to remove water from the lungs. They used to put the victim on barrels belly down and roll them, for one. This maneuver removed excess water and applied pressure on lungs and heart, mimicking normal function, in a way. I have no idea how successful this was, though. Here is a very interesting site that lists this and other crude methods of the past: History of CPR. The brain can survive after cardiac arrest for 4 minutes. However, in low temperatures (ie, falling into cold waters) the needs for oxygen go down and so does metabolism. It has been reported that people have been successfully resuscitated after prolonged stay (ie: no more than 45', if memory serves well) inside cold waters. Just my two eurocents. If I can be of further assistance, let me know. Werecat



Re: CPR in middle-earth

As I passed an Advanced CPR course recently, Well done! Thanks for the link, that was interesting. Some of the methods were really bizarre, though - and I didn't like the practitioners who demonstrated that a particular method would kill an animal! I've used CPR twice in stories now - I think Elrond developed it and taught it to others. Jay



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