Rediscovery of Expired Air Methods for Emergency Ventilation

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Abstract

During the poliomyelitis epidemic in Minnesota in 1946, I did mouth-to-mouth breathing as an instinctive reflex many times on patients with combined spinal-bulbar paralysis at times of equipment failure. The tank respirators and medical personnel were in short supply. There were no Danes to point out the virtues of IPPV with oxygen via tracheal tube, bag, and anesthesia nurse. Henning Ruben was still a dentist, not even dreaming of the “squeeze bag” (He designed and introduced the self-refilling bag-valve-mask unit in the late 1950s.) The private anesthesiologists were busy in the OR, so Maurice Visscher, my Professor of Physiology, assigned me, his only graduate fellow with an MD degree, to the polio floor. Allan Hemingway of the same department had just returned from active duty in the Air Force with an oximeter he had “borrowed” from Glen Millikan. I was the boy given this new device and sent for data (1, 2).