Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Disco song helps medical providers remember CPR

It looks like the once-popular, all-too-hard-to-get-out-of-your-head, Bee Gee's song "Stayin' Alive" might, in fact, be a real lifesaver.

University of Illinois College of Medicine researchers in Peoria recently conducted a small study in which 10 doctors and five medical students who listened to the "Saturday Night Fever" tune while practicing CPR not only performed perfectly, they remembered the technique five weeks later.

The song plays at 103 beats per minute, which coincidentally, is just the right rate for CPR, per the current guidelines.

"One trouble with CPR training, Matlock said, is that most practitioners, from trained medical professionals to people who take classes at the local fire department, fail to perform the potentially lifesaving technique aggressively enough."

Further, "Both the message of the title and the mechanics of the music support the CPR message, said Mary Fran Hazinski, a nurse at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville and senior science editor for the heart association.

While the song's new potential use is amusing, it could save tens of thousands of lives each year. Just this year the American Heart Association (AHA) published a report entitled: Hands-Only (Compression-Only) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: A Call to Action for Bystander Response to Adults Who Experience Out-of-Hospital Sudden Cardiac Arrest. The current recommendations are as follows:

When an adult suddenly collapses, trained or untrained bystanders should—at a minimum—activate their community emergency medical response system (eg, call 911) and provide high-quality chest compressions by pushing hard and fast in the center of the chest, minimizing interruptions (Class I).

If a bystander is not trained in CPR, then the bystander should provide hands-only CPR (Class IIa). The rescuer should continue hands-only CPR until an automated external defibrillator arrives and is ready for use or EMS providers take over care of the victim.

If a bystander was previously trained in CPR and is confident in his or her ability to provide rescue breaths with minimal interruptions in chest compressions, then the bystander should provide either conventional CPR using a 30:2 compression-to-ventilation ratio (Class IIa) or hands-only CPR (Class IIa). The rescuer should continue CPR until an automated external defibrillator arrives and is ready for use or EMS providers take over care of the victim.

If the bystander was previously trained in CPR but is not confident in his or her ability to provide conventional CPR including high-quality chest compressions (ie, compressions of adequate rate and depth with minimal interruptions) with rescue breaths, then the bystander should give hands-only CPR (Class IIa). The rescuer should continue hands-only CPR until an automated external defibrillator arrives and is ready for use or EMS providers take over the care of the victim.

Remember, you don't have to be trained in CPR to perform chest compressions. Many health-care providers have never done CPR, either. If you witness a sudden cardiac arrest, that person's best chance of survival is immediate chest compressions and automatic defibrillation (many public places now also have defibrillators).

Just hum to the tune of "Stayin' Alive" while doing those compressions, and the rate should be close to perfect.

Who knew that the overplayed disco song is useful not only for making white people dance badly at wedding receptions, but also for saving lives?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

National Coming Out Day

Happy National Coming Out Day to all!

Gay pride and national coming out day is something that is still necessary, as we fight for equal rights in this country. While some of our opponents label gays as "non-existent," or sexual orientation as a "political identity," those of us who are actually gay know that our sexual orientation is something real and central to our happiness and well-being. Because so much of our personhood is wrapped up in who we love and make families with, equal recognition of our families by the government is only fair and just.

I think most people know this by now, as more people are coming out, and as the rest of the world realizes that gay people are often kind, loving, generous people (like most heterosexual people). Once people can put a face to a label that, for so long, was taboo, that label is no longer so scary.

In the sense that many of us in same-sex relationships are fighting for equal rights, being gay is a political identity. Yet, the very reason we seek equal rights makes it that way. The point of a National Coming Out Day, then, is to make our orientations a non-issue. A non-political-identity, if you will. The very people who critique gays for alleged "political ideologies" and "gay agendas" are the very ones who make such "agendas," if you can call it that, a necessity.

It reminds me of those who oppose gay parenting on the grounds that the children might be made fun of by their peers for having gay parents. Why should innocent gay people be punished for the intolerance of ignorant people?

For, the day we stop having to fight for equal rights, protections, and treatments is the day we will be able to stop using our sexual orientations like a political category and get on with just living our lives with the person who makes us happiest, like our heterosexual brothers and sisters. That is when the anti-gay protestors acknowledge that same-sex relationships are necessary for the happiness and sanctity of other people's lives, and not just a political football to sway ignorant masses, or to make money for a select few "pastors" of "churches." And, definitely not a mechanism to elect corrupt, often adulterous, politicians into office.

I wish everyone well on this beautiful weekend. And don't forget to come out to someone today. Whether you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or an ally, putting a face to those labels is one of the best things you can do for our fight for equality.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Those truly concerned about The AIDS

Should become a doctor or nurse and move to India or other developing countries where the problem is, by far, the largest. Thanks to unprotected heterosexual sex.

The homobigots who only care about The AIDS insomuch as it furthers their anti-gay identity politics, should also read the article, so they learn where the true spread of disease comes from.

I'm just sayin'. Sometimes it's completely obvious that even when you make all attempts to not let your homo-bigotry come out of the closet, it shines through like a rainbow.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hatin' Palin: A double-edged sword?

Emily Bazelon, over at Slate, writes an opinion piece titled, "The Un-Hillary:
Why watching Sarah Palin is agony for women."

In it, she describes the grief that women, conservative and liberal alike, encounter when watching and listening to her flawed responses to opponents in debates"

"Conservatives express straightforward disappointment. 'I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful,' Parker writes glumly. 'Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.'"


"But Palin's gender is at the center of another set of reactions I've been hearing and reading among women who don't support her ticket, filled with ambivalence over how bad she is. Laugh at the Tina Fey parodies that make Palin ridiculous just by quoting her verbatim. And then cry. When Palin tanks, it's good for the country if you want Obama and Biden to win, but it's bad for the future of women in national politics. I'm in this boat, too. Should we feel sorry for Sarah Palin? No. But if she fails miserably, we might be excused for feeling a bit sorry for ourselves."

I'll admit it. While I am an Obama supporter, of course, a part of me cringes at seeing the only prominent female political figure of the moment mess up so badly, so often. She can't hack it in the big leagues, that much is obvious. But the problem with that for women is that a lot of people are going to attribute her incompetence to her gender. Because Americans really are that stupid.

Another part of me is so incredibly angry that a woman like Palin has sort of undeservedly slipped into a role that replaces uber-prepared and competent Hillary Clinton as our gender's lone representative on a major party ticket.

So put me in Bazelon's camp:

"And yet. When I watch Palin, I can't help but cringe along with Parker. Call it women's solidarity, however misplaced. I keep coming back to this prim phrase: Please, don't make a spectacle of yourself. String some coherent sentences together. Your efforts to wrap yourself in Hillary's mantle make no sense in terms of what you'd actually do in office. But if you could pull off just a bit of her debating prowess—just a bit—I'll step a little lighter when I wake up Friday morning."