Document Detail

From reviving the living to raising the dead; the making of cardiac resuscitation.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9783877     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Cardiac arrest (the process of the heart ceasing to beat) and cardiac resuscitation (the attempt to restart the heart) were created in the surgical theatres of the early to middle twentieth century, in response to the cardiac arrests which were being caused by the "theatre" doctors themselves. These patients were young and healthy (a consequence of the preselection surgery involves), cardiac resuscitation was trying to revive the living. The paper explores the intimate relationship between cardiac arrest and cardiac resuscitation. By the use of historical and Latourian sociological analysis the paper also reveals how cardiac resuscitation was made into the emblematic medical event it is today, a process which has been so complete that it has become, in many senses, an "obligatory passage point to death", that is, in order to die one must pass through cardiac resuscitation. The outcome of this is the changed nature of cardiac resuscitation, no longer attempting to revive the living, cardiac resuscitation now attempts to raise the dead and dying, and at this it fails. Despite the remarkable success of cardiac resuscitation as a fact, the paper argues that it is a failure as a technique, paradoxically the more successful a fact it became, the more it failed as a procedure. The paper explains this apparent contradiction and the resistance to anomalies, by showing how cardiac resuscitation was created simultaneously inside and outside medical science, from its very start being a social and scientific fact with a vast network of stabilising allies.
J Bains
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Historical Article; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Social science & medicine (1982)     Volume:  47     ISSN:  0277-9536     ISO Abbreviation:  Soc Sci Med     Publication Date:  1998 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1998-12-14     Completed Date:  1998-12-14     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303205     Medline TA:  Soc Sci Med     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1341-9     Citation Subset:  IM; Q    
Psychiatric Unit, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney NSW, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Attitude to Death*
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / history*,  methods
Great Britain
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
Heart Arrest / etiology,  history*,  therapy
History, 20th Century
Iatrogenic Disease
Intraoperative Complications
Social Values
Sociology, Medical*
United States

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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