Drowning--Shafer Method

Secure a doctor if possible, but do not wait for him. Do not _wait_ for

anything; what you do, do _instantly_.

As soon as the rescued person is out of the water begin treatment to

restore respiration, that is, to make her _breathe_. If you can do this

her life will probably be saved. Not until the patient breathes

naturally must you work to bring warmth and circulation to the body. To

promote circulation
before_ the patient _breathes naturally_ may

endanger her life.

First quickly loosen the clothes at waist and neck; then turn the

patient face downward on the ground with face either downward or turned

to one side, arms extended above the head, and with chest raised

slightly from the ground and resting upon your folded skirt. Also place

something beneath her forehead to raise her nose and mouth from the

ground. This will allow the tongue to fall forward. If it does not,

grasp it with handkerchief and pull forward; this will permit the water

to run out and will provide room for breathing.

As in cases of fainting, so with drowning patient, she must have all the

air possible, for she is being suffocated with water, so do not allow a

crowd to form around her. Keep every one back except those assisting in

the actual work of restoration.

With the patient in the position described, kneel by her side or, better

still, astride of her, and let your hands fall into the spaces between

the short ribs. With your fingers turned outward and your weight falling

upon the palms of your hands, press steadily downward and forward to

expel the air from the lungs. Hold this position a fraction of a second,

count four, then gradually release the pressure to allow the air to

enter again through the throat. Count four, and again press down.

Continue this treatment for a while, then, using another method, slip

your hands under the patient at the waist-line and lift her up

sufficiently to allow her head to hang down as in illustration.

Lower her gently and lift again. Do this several times. You will find

that the movement will force the water from the lungs out of the mouth

and help to produce artificial respiration.

Return to the first method and continue the treatment until the breath

comes naturally. It may be an hour or two before there are any signs of

life such as a gasp or slight movement, then the breath must be

carefully aided by more gentle pressure until it comes easily without


Do not give up hope, and _do not stop working_. The work may be

continued many hours if done in relays, that is, several girls taking

part, each one in her turn. Remember, however, the treatment must be

continuous and no time be allowed to elapse when the change is being