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Sudden Death and the Myth of CPR

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS Foreword by Bern Shen, M.D. Preface Introduction: What They Didn't Tell You in Your CPR Course The Myth of CPR How Dignified is Sudden Death? 1. Death Awareness in the United States The Emergence of Death Awareness Hospice Care Right-to-Die Movement The "Good" Death Toward a Dignified Sudden Death? 2. The Search for the Best Resuscitation Technique The Royal Humane Society The Resuscitation Techniques of the Royal Humane Society The Vital Principle The Schafer Technique Resuscitation Research in the United States Manual Artificial Ventilation Methods The Obstructed Airway Mouth-to-Mouth Ventilation Chest Compressions The Origins of Resuscitation Beliefs 3. CPR for All Professional Versus Lay CPR Patient Transportation Consolidation of the Emergency Medical System Survival Rates The Chain of Survival Some CPR Is Better Than No CPR What Is Survival? Number-to-Number Inflation The Economic Cost of Saving Lives Universal Lifesaving 4. Lifesaving in Action Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Paramedics The Emergency Department Ritual, Medicalization, and Community 5. Deciding Life and Death Reaching Decisions Initial Impressions Dead on Arrival The Rush of the First Minutes The Resuscitation Team Retrieving Clinical Information Circumstances of the Cardiac Arrest The Patient's Social Viability Resuscitation Trajectories Legal Death Trajectory Elite Death Trajectory Temporary Stabilization Trajectory Stabilization Trajectory Social Inequality of Sudden Death 6. "There Is a Code and a Code" The Routines of Emergencies Becoming a Resuscitator Major Categories The Successful Resuscitative Effort The Bad Resuscitative Effort The Tragic Resuscitative Effort The Non-Category Personal Philosophy Comfort with Sudden Death 7. Saving Life or Saving Death? Resuscitation Ethic More Effective CPR Empowering Relatives and Friends Family Attendance Final Reflections Appendix: Methodology Notes References Index

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Restoring dignity to sudden death

About the Author

Stefan Timmermans is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brandeis University and is widely published on the topic of health care.


"Out of his immersion in the sequestered inner world of the hospital emergency departments where sudden death and resuscitative efforts generally take place, Timmermans arrives at illuminating philosophical and sociological insights into how we all are, and ought to be, implicated in these processes, and admirable suggestions about how we can help to make them more dignified, consoling, and meaningful." --Renee C. Fox, Annenberg Professor Emerita of the Social Sciences, University of Pennsylvania "This deeply disturbing book documents the failure of modern society to deal with sudden death. Timmermans combines ethnographic observations in various Emergency Rooms with a detailed history of the emergence of CPR to debunk the myth that CPR is successful. Timmermans is a wise and humane guide through the tricky ethical issues surrounding sudden death. He argues for a new ethical code to restore dignity and choice to the dying process. This important and insightful book deserves to become a classic in medical sociology." --Trevor Pinch, Cornell University "A compassionate, meticulous portrayal of sudden death. Heroics are entirely banished in this first-ever ethnography of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and the record is set straight through a skillful, eye-opening account of the routines and practices of emergency medicine... [T]his is an indispensable read for social scientists and historians of technology and medicine, and also for specialists in emergency medicine and health-care professionals involved with death and dying." --Margaret Lock, author of the award-winning Encounters with Aging: Mythologies of Menopause in Japan and North America

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