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From New York to Modesto First Aid Has Become the Norm

Modesto first aidFor those who have seen The Prestige with Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman, there is a scene where a women drowns while participating in a magic performance. Of course, she is the love interest of Hugh Jackman, so when she dies a bitter rivalry is formed between him and Christian Bale which then sets the scene for the entire rest of the plot. For many people viewing the show however, the fact that no one begins CPR or first aid when the woman falls out of the broken water tank is a little puzzling.

She had only been in there for over a minute, maybe two which is still a good window of time to begin CPR and other first aid techniques, but all the other performers just stand around and watch her. Currently, for anyone from New York to Modesto first aid is a widely familiar topic. Even if they have not been officially trained in emergency techniques, there is a basic knowledge and awareness present. Surprisingly, this was not the case during the time frame of the film. The earliest instances of first aid which have been recorded were from 1099 when a group of knights was trained to administer medical treatment when necessary.

Though this is a fairly early example, the next official organization of individuals to help assist with medical treatment was not until 1792. This was when the French army surgeon general formed a medical corps and they were trained to work away from the normal field hospitals. They would provide any initial treatment they could before carrying the wounded men back to the field hospital on carts. This was innovative in its own right because wounded men were often left behind on the battle field by both the competing sides previously. During the Battle of Solferino in 1859, a Swiss man witnessed soldiers being left to die like that on both sides.

Witnessing men dying of horrific injuries while still in the middle of the battle field left an impression and Henry Dunant began to work on forming the International Red Cross and the first Geneva Convention in 1860. The purpose of this organization was to help with the wounded soldiers of both sides who suffered casualties in war and the Red Cross has become a very well known relief agency that now helps with almost any type of disaster by providing prompt relief and supplies. Shortly after this, an army surgeon presented the idea of training civilians in pre-medical treatment which is where modern CPR training and first aid certification classes stemmed from.

During the first and second world wars, the St. John Ambulance and British Red Cross joined efforts and were a great supporting influence for medical efforts during these times. It wasn’t until 1946 that the National Health Service Act made it so ambulances were required for anyone who may need to call them out. This has become a basic service that is now expected of hospitals in order to provide the best possible emergency care available.

Though it may seem a bit shocking for modern people to see the girl who was drowned in the water tank not receiving any first aid or CPR care, these were not well known techniques during the time frame which the film depicts. There was a much higher risk involved in such undertakings than is currently understood by many people. The emergency training and assistance that many have become so accustomed to was not well known and often people were at a loss as to how to help someone in an emergency situation. With the developments in this field, there are many civilians who are now able to respond when such an incident arises rather than stand helplessly by.

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