Rescusitation c. 1787 [from 18th century woman]
Judith in England, who posted on 18th c. women's list
Collection: The Pennsylvania Gazette
Publication: The Pennsylvania Gazette
Date: July 4, 1787
Title: Directions for recovering persons who are supposed to be dead ,
Directions for recovering persons who are supposed to be dead , from
drowning, also for preventing and curing the disorders produced by
drinking Cold Water or other Liquors, and by the action of noxious
vapours, lightning, and excessive heat and cold, upon the Human Body.
Published by order of the Humane Society, of Philadelphia.
OF the many calamities to which mankind are subject, there are none
more productive of distress than sudden and violent deaths.
In great cities, instances of this kind (from drowning, suffocation,
and other accidents) are very numerous; and this melancholy
circumstance is much aggravated by reflecting that a large proportion
of those who are thus lost to their friends and country might be
saved, if they were properly treated.
That this is the case, appears clearly from the reports of several
respectable societies in Europe, which were formed for the purpose,
and have happily succeeded in the humane attempt of restoring to life
persons apparently killed by the accidents above mentioned.
It is now only twenty years since the first society of this kind was
formed at Amsterdam, and but thirteen since the first existence of
that in London, and yet near one thousand persons have been preserved
from death by these two institutions. Societies of the same kind have
been formed at Paris, Venice, Hamburgh and Milan; and from their
reports it also appears, not only that a large proportion of
persons , apparently dead , have been recovered, but that this
recovery may be effected after they have been a long time in that
situation. As the inhabitants of this part of America are exposed,
not only to all those accidents which occur in England and Holland,
but to several others which rarely take place there (as those
produced by excessive heat and cold, and by lightning) they must have
additional inducements to form an institution of this kind: and
altho' its objects are of the highest importance, the following plan
for attaining them will shew, that the business of such an
institution is very practicable and easy.
First - As people in general are uninformed of the proper methods to
be pursued in such cases, and as medical assistance cannot always be
procured in time, it will be necessary to lodge directions respecting
the proper treatment in all those places where such accidents
Secondly - It will be necessary to deposit at those places, such
apparatus and medicines as have been found most useful in these
cases; as the time lost in waiting for them, if they are not at hand,
may deprive the unfortunate person of all chance of recovery.
Thirdly - It will also be necessary to place at proper distances,
near rivers, a number of grapples and other instruments, for
extracting speedily from the water those who fall into it.
By these means, the Societies above mentioned have had the
satisfaction of restoring fathers to the fatherless, and living
children to parents who were deploring their loss; - and have
rendered to humanity the important service of preserving from death a
large number of useful members of the community. Their great success
influenced a number of gentlemen in Philadelphia to associate
themselves for the same purpose, under the name of the "Humane
Society;" who , as they are desirous of the concurrence of their
fellow-citizens, have subjoined their constitution; and hope that
those who approve of it, will unite with them in carrying it into
Subscriptions and donations to this society will be thankfully
received by Christopher Marshall , jun. Treasurer of the society, and
by any one of the society.
The CONSTITUTION of the HUMANE SOCIETY.
THE HUMANE SOCIETY, instituted in the year 1770, for the recovery of
drowned persons , having for some years past not been sufficiently
attended to , it is now agreed to revive it; and further, to include
in its objects persons disordered by noxious vapours, lightning,
drinking cold water, and from the action of excessive heat and cold
upon the body; for which purpose the following plan is adopted:
That every person, paying one dollar annually, for the use of the
institution, shall be deemed a contributor.
That the contributors shall choose twelve Managers on the second
Wednesday in March, of every year, who shall, as soon as convenient,
choose from among themselves a President, two Inspectors, and a
Secretary. They shall likewise choose a Treasurer from among the
contributors. They shall hold stated meetings on the second Wednesday
of every month. Their business shall be to regulate all the affairs
of the institution. Five Managers to make a quorum.
Directions for recovering Persons , who are supposed to be dead ,
1st. As soon as the body is taken out of the water it must be
conveyed, with care and tenderness , to a house, or any other place,
where it can be laid dry and warm, avoiding the usual destructive
methods of hanging it by the heels, rolling it on a barrel, or
placing it across a log on its belly.
2dly. The clothes must be immediately stripped off, and the body
wrapped up in blankets, well warmed. It should be laid on its back,
with the head a little raised. If the weather be cold, it should be
placed near a fire; but if the weather should be warm, it will be
sufficient to place it between two blankets well heated; taking care
to prevent the room from being crouded with any persons who are not
necessarily employed about the body.
3dly. As soon as it can possibly be done, a bellows should be applied
to one nostril, while the other nostril and the mouth are kept
closed, and the lower end of the prominent part of the wind-pipe (or
that part which is called by anatomists Pomum Adami ) is pressed
backward. The bellows is to be worked in this situation; and when the
breast is swelled by it, the bellows should stop, and an assistant
should press the belly upwards, to force the air out. The bellows
should then be applied as before, and the belly should again be
pressed upwards; and this process should be repeated from 20 to 30
times in a minute, so as to imitate natural breathing as nearly as
possible. Some volatile spirits, heated, should be held under the
valve of the fellows, while it works. If a bellows cannot be
procured, some person should blow into one of the nostrils through a
pipe or quill, while the other nostril and mouth are closed as
before; or if a pipe or quill be not at hand, he should blow into the
mouth, while both nostrils are closed; but whenever a bellows can be
procured, it should be preferred, as air forced in by this means will
be much more serviceable than air which has been already breathed.
4thly. At the same time the whole body should be rubbed with the
hand, or with hot woollen cloths. The rubbing should be moderate, but
continued with industry a long time, and particularly about the
5thly. During this time, a large quantity of ashes, or salt, or sand,
should be heated; and as soon as it is milk-warm, the body should be
placed in it; the blowing and rubbing are then to be continued as
before; and when the ashes, salt, or sand, are cooled, some warmer
must be added, so that the whole may be kept milk-warm.
These methods should be continued three or four hours, as in several
instances they have proved successful, altho' no signs of life
appeared until that time. When the patient is able to swallow, he
should take some wine, or rum and water; bleeding or purging ought
not to be used without consulting a physician, who should be called
in as soon as possible.
To prevent the fatal Effects of drinking cold Water, or cold Liquors
of any Kind , in warm Weather.
1st. Avoid drinking while you are warm, or,
2dly. Drink only a small quantity at once, and let it remain a short
time in your mouth before you swallow it; or,
3dly. Grasp the vessel out of which you are about to drink (provided
it is made of glass, earthen ware, or metal) for a few minutes, with
both your hands, for each of these substances conveys off a portion
of the heat of the body into the cold liquor, and thereby lessens the
danger which arises from the excessive heat of the body, and the
coldness of the liquor; or, 4thly. Wash your hands and face, and
rinse your mouth with cold water before you drink. If these
precautions have been neglected, and the disorder incident to
drinking cold water hath been produced, the first, and in most
instances, the only remedy to be administered, is sixty drops of
liquid laudanum in spirit and water, or warm drink of any kind.
If this should fail of giving relief, the same quantity may be
repeated every twenty minutes, until the pain and spasms abate.
When laudanum cannot be obtained, rum and water, or warm water should
be given. Bleeding should not be used without consulting a physician.
The dangerous Effects of noxious Vapours, from Wells, Cellars,
fermenting Liquors, &c. may be prevented,
By procuring a free circulation of air, either by ventilators, or
opening the doors or windows, where it is confined, or by changing
the air, by keeping fires in the infected place, or by throwing in
water in which stonelime has been dissolved.
These precautions should be taken, before entering into such
suspected places, or a lighted candle should be first introduced,
which will go out if the air is bad. When a person is let down into a
well, he should be carefully watched, and drawn up again on the least
change. But when a person is apparently dead , from the above-
mentioned cause, the first thing to be done is to remove the body to
a cool place in a wholesome air; then let the body be stripped, and
let cold water be thrown from buckets over it for some time. This is
particularly useful in cases of apparent death from drunkenness. -
Let the treatment now be the same as that for drowned persons . The
head should be raised a little, and continued friction, with blowing
into the nostrils with a bellows, should be practised for several
In Cases of Suffocation, from the Fumes of Burning CHARCOAL,
The general treatment recommended for curing the disorders brought on
by noxious vapours is to be applied; but the dangerous effects of
this may be prevented, by taking care not to sit near it when
burning: To burn it in a chimney; and where there is no chimney, to
keep the door open, and to place a large tub of water inn the room.
In all these, as well as in cases of drowned persons , moderate
purges and bleeding are only to be used, with the advice of a
To prevent the fatal Effects of Lightning,
Let your house be provided with an iron conductor; but when this
cannot be had, avoid sitting, or standing, near the window, door, or
walls of a house, during the time of a thunder gust. The nearer you
are placed to the middle of a room, the better. When you are not in a
house, avoid flying to the cover of the woods, or a solitary tree,
When a person is struck by lightning, let continued frictions and
inflation of the lungs be practised: Leg gentle shocks of electricity
be made to pass through the chest, when a skilful person can be
procured to apply it; and let blisters be applied to the breast.
To prevent Danger from Exposure to the Excessive Heat of the Sun.
Disorders from this cause, or (as they are vulgarly termed) strokes
of the sun, may be expected, when a person who is exposed to its rays
is affected with a violent headach, attended with throbbing or with
giddiness; where the disorder takes place, these symptoms are
followed by faintiness and great insensibility, with violent heat and
dryness of the skin, redness and dryness of the eyes, difficulty of
breathing, and, according as the disease is more or less violent,
with a difficulty, or entire inability of speaking or moving.
To guard against these dangerous effects of heat, it will be proper,
1st. To avoid labour, or violent exercise, or exposing yourself to
the rays of the sun, immediately after eating a hearty meal:
2dly. To avoid drinking spirits of any kind, when you are thus
exposed. These add an internal fire to the heat of the sun, and are
particularly hurtful in harvest. Vinegar and water, sweetened with
molasses or brown sugar, butter-milk and water, small beer, whey, or
milk and water, are the most proper drinks for people who are exposed
to excessive heat. But the less a person drinks of liquors of any
kind in the forenoon , the better will he endure the heat of a warm
day. It will also be proper,
3dly. To wear a white hat, or to cover a black one with white paper,
when you are necessarily exposed to the hot sun, and to avoid
standing still when you are in such a situation. 4thly. To retire
into the shade as soon as you begin to be affected with pain or
throbbing in the head, with giddiness or with faintness.
If these precautions have been neglected, and the symptoms above
described have come on, it will be proper,
1st. To remove the person so affected into a cool, dry place, and to
loosen all his garments, particularly those around his neck and
breast. 2dly. To examine whether the pulse at the wrists or temples
beats forcibly, and if it does, to bleed immediately; but if the
pulse be weak, or cannot be perceived, bleeding must not be
3dly. To place his feet and legs (or if it can be done) the lower
half of his body, in warm water. But if this remedy fails,
4thly. Dr. Riggot advises to apply linen cloths wet with cold water,
or with cold water and vinegar, to the temples and all over the head.
5thly. To administer plentiful draughts of vinegar and water
sweetened. In all cases of this kind a physician should be sent for ,
unless the patient recovers speedily.
To prevent the Effects of Excessive Cold.
Persons are in danger of being destroyed by cold, when they become
very drowsy, or are affected with general numbness or insensibility
of the body. As the cold which proves fatal generally affects the
feet first, great care should be taken to keep them as warm as
1st. By protecting them when you are exposed to cold with wool, or
woolen socks within the shoes or boots, or with large woolen
stockings drawn over them, or when you ride, with hay or straw
wrapped round them. 2dly. By keeping up a brisk circulation in the
blood vessels of the feet, by moving them constantly ; or when this
is impracticable, from a confined situation, and two or more persons
are exposed together.
3dly. By placing their feet, without shoes , against each other's
If, notwithstanding these precautions, a person should be rendered
sleepy of ensensible by cold, he must exert himself and move about
quickly, for if he should sleep in the cold, he will inevitably
perish. When a person who is travelling in company begins to be
affected in this manner, his companions should force him to walk
briskly, or to run.
When cold has produced apparent death, the body should be placed in a
room without fire, and rubbed steadily with snow, or cloths wet with
cold water, at the same time that the bellows is applied to the nose,
and used as in the case of drowning.
This treatment should be continued a long time, although no signs of
life appear, for some persons have recovered, who were to appearance
lifeless for several hours.
When the limbs only are affected by cold, they should be rubbed
gently with snow, or bathed in cold water with ice in it, until their
feeling and power of motion return; after which the bathing or
rubbing with snow is to be repeated once every hour, and continued a
longer or shorter time, as the pains are more or less violent.
The person thus affected should be kept from the fire, for warmth and
acrid applications of every kind are improper.
JOHN JONES, President, BENJAMIN RUSH, BENJAMIN DUFFIELD, CASPAR
WISTAR, SAMUEL P. GRIFFITTS, JOHN R. B. RODGERS, Physicians. ROBERT
PARRISH, TENCH COXE, JOHN BAYARD, JOHNS HOPKINS, ISAAC JONES, CHARLES
MARSHALL, Secretary. MANAGERS of the HUMANE SOCIETY.Hope this information proves helpful in our portrayals and is edifying to all.Chris EHampton, VA