Article Text

Resuscitation Rules.
  1. C MacDONALD
  1. Gastroenterology, Leicester General Hospital, UK

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Resuscitation Rules. By Tim Hodgetts and Nick Castle. (Pp 116; £12.95.) BMJ Publishing Group, 1999. ISBN 0-7279-1371-9.

Resuscitation is repeatedly performed badly by everybody (apart perhaps from resuscitation officers) so a book that tries to change this is to be commended.Resuscitation Rules lists some 60 rules supported by references that if applied would improve resuscitation.

Rule 1, “Confidence does not imply competence,” highlights the problem of reaching the target audience: those who need to read it are not aware that they do! The presumption that the reader has some understanding of basic, paediatric, and advanced life support runs contrary to our documented deficiencies. It follows that the book would benefit from a brief documentation of the protocols, if only to highlight where rules such as “The laryngoscope is an oxygen deprivation device” and useful mnemonics such as “THE CHOP” apply. It would then be a valuable reference in someone's pocket when they or their patient needs it.

Resuscitation Rules reminded me of things I had forgotten, and provided references that support my experience. Some of the rules are instantly memorable (“every shroud has a silver lining”), others are less so. I suspect it will benefit from time and from the addition of new snappy rules (which the authors actively encourage), devised in the dead time waiting for the “emergency transportation of a corpse.”

Samuel Shem suggests that “At a cardiac arrest, the first procedure is to take your own pulse”; may I suggest that to have practised resuscitation and to have read this book beforehand would be more useful?

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