Monday, March 30, 2009

Well Blow Me!

Look at this:

Scary huh? And it wants you to press your mouth against its cold, emotionless gape, breathing your very life's gases into its cavernous robot chest.

This is one of those manikins that teach people to do CPR, which we were using at work the other day to fine-tune our compressions-to-ventilations ratio. I think we got it cheap off a St John's ambulance chap who came round the back one day with it folded up in a suitcase. He said it was surplus to their requirements as they needed something more realistic and so were using Boy Scouts trying to earn their First Aid badges. This isn't as cruel as it sounds as apparently their pliable young ribcages just bounce right back into shape a couple of days later.

After seven or eight people had slobbered all over it's rubbery chops, including Herpes Keith and his Uncompromising Beard of Disease, we thought we'd better give it a bit of a wipe off. As an innate fiddler (I'm not proud of it), I discovered that it's face came right off, which made me feel a bit like an evil professor making a baddy robot to take on The Fall Guy, only when he was The Six Million US Dollars Man. (At current exchange rates, that's about four and half million quid, which seems quite reasonable considering the extent of his injuries.)

So after we had persuaded OCD Nick to clean the mask, simply by showing it to him and mouthing the word "Dirty" a few times, we took photos of the skull-like visage revelaed beneath, and examined out death-mimicking friend in more detail.

The manikin has computer jacks and USB ports in it, which you could link up to a laptop and simulate all sorts of problems that might necessitate a passing do-gooder to begin jumping up and down on their chest. If you've got the appropriate program (and the wherewithal to operate it), you can apparently simulate a pulse (or lack thereof), make it breathe in or even moan convincingly. You are then supposed to come to a conclusion about the cause of the collapse and take appropriate action, although I'm going to stick with the adage that, if they're blue and not breathing, this is classified as "A Bad Thing" so let's not worry about the cause and begin CPR.

Unless of course they're attached to the mains or marinating in a drum of Paraquat, in which case they're on their own.

Apparently these things are getting better and better at mimicking the collapsed person, which leads me to wonder what training manikins are going to be like in the future. To be effective, they're going to need to be as human-like as possible, right down to their internal organs perhaps. Our manikin has a couple of rubbery inflatable lungs and some ribbed tubing to imitate a trachea, but other than that, not much.

Casting a beady eye around t'internet, it does appear that we might be on our way to a higher evolutionary level of training manikin already, judging by this amazing Japanese robot:

I'm hoping that it's a bit more than a pretty Asimo with a rubber mask and a Fleshlight stapled to it (whatever one of those is).

Of course, these things cost a lot of dosh, but how much is too much, and who picks up the bill? Responsible employers? The state? The NHS?

All of this is beyond the scope of my, well, interest. I do think though, if CPR is to be taught, then we shouldn't be waiting for us all to be adults, where we do a one day course and then start eyeing up frail-looking old dears on the bus and hoping (not out loud) that they suddenly go down like a sack of spuds so we can leap up, say "Let me through, I'm a First Aider!" and begin massaging them back to life in front of an improbably attractive lady reporter who's Porsche broke down so she had take the bus and now has the story of the week and a strange tingling feeling as she takes photo after photo after photo . . .

No, we should be learning this stuff at school and then regulalry updating our skills as grown-ups.

It might be a challenge getting teeenagers to get motivated as learning CPR smacks of responsibility and education, which all right thinking 14-year-old boys want to avoid like deoderant and paper-rounds.

So how about teaching them using one of these things:

I bet they'd sidle in, even in their lunch break, just out of curiosity like, and then BLAM! - you educate 'em while they're not looking.

Actually, why should teenagers get the . . . er . . . life-like training manikin? There would probably be a few more volunteers for the First Aid at Work course if this was on offer. Then afterwards we could all have a bit of a party.

Anyone know where we can get a second hand one?

And some alcohol wipes?


  1. I was thinking the first pic might be Michael Jackson now, ya never know. Herpes Keith. Hmm. Sounds like a great online dating name.

    I would order the alcohol wipes by the case for this. ~Mary

    stopping by from U's blog....

  2. There is so much goodness in this post. Herpes Keith and his Uncompromising Beard of Disease is my new band name if I ever form one.

    Innate fiddler? mweh.

    Do you work in a dungeon? The only thing scarier than that first mannequin is the wall behind it.

  3. The cybernaut thing at the beginning is a lot less snoggable than the 'Annie' torso I learnt first aid on - although I'm told my first compression would have broken all her ribs, if she hadn't been stuffed with chair springs. As for the final mannekin, have you got her number by any chance?

  4. FrankandMary - Welcome from the deep blue calm of U's blog to the splashy shallow rockpool of mine!

    Steamy - It's the garage wall. There are spiders and things undiscovered on it that do sudokus at night.

    Brother T - If you break a rib, you're doing it properly! It's the same with CPR.

  5. Jules...That was funny. Will I ever stop laughing now? The thought of Herpes Keith and 14-year-old boys who "sidle in, even in their lunch break, just out of curiosity..." is vintage.

    Well done!

  6. I understand (from purely research motives) that the last mannequin comes as a bloke too, for true sex equality, with additional moving parts. However, it may have more life than many chaps I met at university.

  7. Hmmmm... cold, plastic and lifeless. I married her sister I do believe.

  8. U - Vintage? I like that. Ta!

    Mdme DeF - If it ever learns to put a shelf up and do the lawn, us men are finished!

    Jimmy - LOL. I take it Mrs Bastard is not one to trawl the blog comments?

  9. OK, first time here via the "U". The title of this post is priceless. Herpes Keith and OCD Nick? This is too, too funny. Gotta come back to read more.....

  10. You are So funny!
    What if someday we are all living in the shells of these robots? I hear that soon they will be able to download our minds into these guys and gals, or whatever you choose I suppose. Could I be a toaster? Humm...

    I'll be back:)

  11. Shirl - Welcome over! Hope you enjoy.

    Beverly - Hello there! A toaster eh? My nan always said her husband was a good dishwasher, so the theory is there at least.

  12. Can I just say, m-a-n-n-e-q-u-i-n-s?

  13. Fragrant liar - If you want to be all French about it. Personally, I'm sticking with the original English mutation of a Dutch word, m-a-n-i-k-i-n.

    Nyer-nyer! :-P

  14. Al - Cheers bro. Love the comments on the previous posts. Can't believe I didn't know about Jurassic Pork.

    Not that I would, of course . . .

  15. "I'm hoping that it's a bit more than a pretty Asimo with a rubber mask and a Fleshlight stapled to it (whatever one of those is)."

    I feel bad for knowing what a Fleshlight is, but that's pretty much what it looks like!

    From one innate fiddler to another, great post.


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