On Emergencies -- Drowning


Recovery of persons apparently drowned or dead. -- 1. Lose no time. 2. Avoid all rough usage. 3. Never hold the body up by the feet. 4. Nor roll the body on casks. 5. Nor rub the body with salt and spirits. 6. Nor inject tobacco smoke, or infusion of tobacco.

I'm a little worried they have to specify not to attempt to smoke or pickle a dead person. So what should we be doing?

Restorative Means, if apparently Drowned. -- Send quickly for medical assistance; but do not delay the following means:--

I. Convey the body CAREFULLY, with the head and shoulders supported in a raised condition, to the nearest house;

II. Strip the body and rub it dry then wrap it in hot blankets, and place it in a warm bed in a warm chamber.

III. Wipe and clean the mouth and nostrils.

IV. In order to restore the natural warmth of the body;

1. Move a heated covered warming pan over the back and spine. 2. Put bladders, or bottles of hot water, or heated bricks, to the pit of the stomach, the armpits, between the thighs, and to the soles of the feet. 3. Foment the body with hot flannels; but if possible. 4. Immerse the body in a warm bath as hot as the hand can bear without pain. 5. Rub the body briskly with the hand; but do not suspend the use of the other means at the same time.

V. To restore breathing, introduce the pipe of a common bellows, into one nostril, carefully closing the other and the mouth; at the same time drawing downwards, and pushing gently backwards, the upper part of the wind pipe, to allow the free admission of air; blow the bellows gently, in order to inflate the lungs, till the breast be a little raised: the mouth and nostrils should then be set free, and a moderate pressure made with the hand upon the chest. Repeat this process till life appears.

VI. Electricity to be employed early by a medical assistant.

VII. Inject into the stomach, by means of an elastic tube and syringe, 1/2 pint warm brandy, or wine and water.

VIII. Apply sal-volatile to the nostrils.


Please, if I am ever injured, do not call the Victorian paramedics.

Source: 'Consult Me -- For All You Want To Know', first published 1860s, this edition c.1900s, (W. Nicholson & Sons, Ltd, Halifax)