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How To Meet Emergencies

( Originally Published 1921 )


For a long time I have been interested in a society called the Society for Instruction in First Aid to the Injured. This society was started about thirty years ago to teach what to do in emergencies. Through its work many thousands have been instructed and hundreds of lives are known to have been saved, besides eliminating a vast amount of suffering. It has been my duty, several times, to revise the hand-book of this society. As a professional man, I know that the attempt to teach in public the treatment of disease is a delicate matter. If we leave people in ignorance, they suffer in emergencies from lack of knowledge. If we teach all we can of our art to the public at large, not a few in their ignorance assume the office of a physician in other than emergencies.

So the first principle of domestic medicine is to summon a physician as soon as possible. In one edition of the handbook of the First Aid Society I inserted this principle at the end of nearly every chapter. No physician ever assumes more responsibility than he is compelled to. In serious problems he seeks the help of his colleagues and endeavors to give those who trust their lives to him the benefit of the greatest amount of the best counsel that is available. Why, then, should those who have only a small acquaintance with the healing art assume to treat serious disease when so much better. counsel is available?

There are two sets of domestic remedies that we have to consider. First, those that are available in every household, and second those that ought to be at hand for every person liable to heart attacks.

Alcoholic stimulants, properly diluted, are of great value in reviving a person suffering from heart failure, and in most circumstances can do no real harm. The same is true of strong coffee, or of any neutral fluid, such as hot soup, hot milk, or even hot water. Aromatic spirits of ammonia is a safe and useful domestic remedy and should be at hand wherever people are liable to fainting attacks. A half teaspoonful in a little water is the proper dose.

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