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Why Kan’t Doc Zoe Write?

This blog fell from a supposed former adrenaline junkie.

Have you received a post on that so-called “self-CPR?”

Jan 25th 2009

heart_broken“If you’re driving alone and you start having severe chest pain or discomfort that starts to spread into your arm and up into your jaw (the scenario presented in the internet article), pull over and flag down another motorist for help or phone 9-1-1 on a cellular telephone.”

I have been receiving an advisory on self-CPR for a number of times and years. This email allegedly began circulating the web back in 1999. The following is the full text:

This one is serious . . . Let’s say it’s 4:17 p.m. and you’re driving home, (alone of course) after an unusually hard day on the job. Not only was the work load extraordinarily heavy, you also had a disagreement with your boss, and no matter how hard you tried he just wouldn’t see your side of the situation. You’re really upset and the more you think about it the more up tight you become.
All of a sudden you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to radiate out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles from the hospital nearest your home, unfortunately you don’t know if you’ll be able to make it that far.
What can you do? You’ve been trained in CPR but the guy that taught the course neglected to tell you how to perform it on yourself.


Since many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack, this article seemed in order. Without help the person whose heart stops beating properly and who begins to feel Faint, has only about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness. However, these victims can help themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing sputum from deep inside the chest. A breath and a cough must be repeated about every two seconds without let up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be beating normally again. Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart and keep the blood circulating.

The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a phone and, between breaths, call for help.

Tell as many other people as possible about this, it could save their lives!

From Health Cares, Rochester General Hospital via Chapter 240’s newsletter. AND THE BEAT GOES ON… (reprint from The Mended Hearts, Inc. publication, Heart Response)

I have concluded it immediately as not true simply because we have not been taught that in med school and during our medical training. However, some people still claim that it is true. So I unleashed my geekiness to try to prove that this is a hoax.

According to, there is some truth to it. It has an extensive explanation on the supposed advisory’s origin and how and why cough CPR is not recommended. It also has links to Rochester General Hospital and Mended Hearts’ statements denial in endorsing cough CPR. Furthermore, official statements allegedly released by two doctors state that “the American Heart Association does not recommend that the public use this method in a situation where there is no medical supervision.” Also, “the procedure might be the right thing to attempt or it might be the very thing that would kill the afflicted depending on which sort of cardiac crisis is being experienced. Without a doctor there to judge the situation and, if cough CPR is indicated, to supervise the rhythmic coughing, the procedure is just far too risky for a layman to attempt.”

To some of you (like me), may not be convincing enough, especially since this and this are the only (pseudo?) reliable sites I have on Darla Bonham (supposed executive director of mended hearts); and this is the only site I have on Dr. Richard Cummings (yup, I’m pretty convinced he’s real – but did they really say those?). So I went a little further:

According to The American Red Cross: “Cough CPR is a self-administered form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation described by CM Criley in 1976 ². According to Criley, self-initiated CPR is possible; however, its use is limited to clinical situations in which the patient has a cardiac monitor, the arrest is recognized before loss of consciousness, and the patient can cough forcefully. To date, there is insufficient scientific research concerning the efficacy of cough CPR. Therefore, American Red Cross cannot advocate teaching the technique until it has been thoroughly tested in national studies and found to be effective.”

Finally, The American Heart Association recommends: “The best strategy is to be aware of the early warning signs for heart attack and cardiac arrest and respond to them by calling 9-1-1. If you’re driving alone and you start having severe chest pain or discomfort that starts to spread into your arm and up into your jaw (the scenario presented in the internet article), pull over and flag down another motorist for help or phone 9-1-1 on a cellular telephone.”

I hope these links help!

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4 Responses

  1. Testing (1 comments) says:

    I suppose that if you are still conscious enough it is possible.

  2. Tony (1 comments) says:

    So what are you going to do when you are alone and no help nearby? Coughing probably one of the options to get your natural system alert and get more oxygen into your lung…

  3. doczoe (33 comments) says:

    so now it’s so convenient that when a hot chick does cross your path, you can confidently say, “it’s safer if i give you cpr.” good luck! 😉

  4. Ez of Barako Brew (3 comments) says:

    And all the while I thought that could work. 🙂

    Just imagine an 80 plus year old stranger, stopping you, complaining of tightness of chest. You tell the guy “Cough all the way to the nearest E.R.”. 😉

    If it were say a Hot Chick, then conventional CPR it is. 🙂

    Nice article Doc. Seriously, I was one of those who thought the method stood a chance. Thanks for the info. That just may say an err. 80 years old stranger’s life. 😉

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