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Dr. Peter Safar Discovering Mouth to Mouth

Today, the technique of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is recognized globally. CPR and rescue breathing are taught to everyone, from children to medical professionals. This wasn't the case until the late 1950s and early 1960s when the lifesaving technique was first discovered and proven effective by Dr. Peter Safar, an Austrian anesthesiologist.


Widely recognized as the pioneer of modern cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Dr. Safar conducted groundbreaking research on the technique of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in the 1950s. This became a fundamental component of modern CPR. He refined and combined the "ABCs of CPR" (Airway, Breathing, Circulation), linking the A (Airway) and B (Breathing) components with the C (Chest compressions). This approach is now acknowledged globally as the foundational framework for resuscitation science. Since its introduction, Dr. Safar’s method for CPR has saved innumerable lives.


To validate the effectiveness of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Dr. Safar ran an intriguing experiment. He anesthetized and medically paralyzed healthy volunteers, monitoring their vital signs as he tested various ventilation techniques prevalent during that time. After demonstrating that the accepted techniques were ineffective, he introduced the new technique of mouth-to-mouth breathing. To further highlight its simplicity, he filmed a young Boy Scout administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a larger man.


Dr. Safar's contributions to medicine, however, extend far beyond resuscitation science. He is credited with establishing the first intensive care unit and founding the first full-scope advanced life support paramedic service in the county, known as Freedom House Ambulance. Additionally, he significantly influenced the design of ambulances, assisted in establishing the National Registry of EMTs, and designed the first standardized EMS patient care report forms.


Watch the actual video from Dr. Safar's lab demonstrating mouth to mouth!


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