A Helping Hand

You may have seen an AED, but not been sure what it is, or how it works. An AED is an "automated external defibrillator." It's the device used when someones heart goes into cardiac arrest which shocks it back into a normal rhythm. I recently ran across this funny video of first aid instructor Todd Scott, that explains it's safe use, and the humorous aspect will likely help people to remember...as long as your a Star Wars fan! Watch the video here. The transcript of the video is written out below. For help with Star Wars terms, go here.


"Last year, I got a chance to watch the new "Star Wars" movie, which was fantastic, but one thing kept bugging me. I don't know if you noticed this or not. In this entirely technically advanced world, I did not see a single AED anywhere, which was totally shocking -- almost as shocking as not knowing what an AED is, which you guys do know. But for those at home, an AED is an automated external defibrillator. It's the device you use when your heart goes into cardiac arrest to shock it back into a normal rhythm, or, as one of the guys I was teaching a class to referred to it as: "The shocky-hearty-box thing."

But I really can't blame the Empire, since health and safety regulations aren't really their first order of business. Though, even if we -- I think worse than not having an AED would be if there was one there, but just, no one knew where to find it. These devices can drastically increase your chance of survival -- almost like a tauntaun on Hoth.

But I'm pretty sure that stormtrooper is going to be toast, regardless if we have an AED or not, since what happens is the chest plate is going to be quite hard to get off, and like that tauntaun, the AED has a very short window of time at which it's highly effective. In this case -- basically, we've got to use it within the first 10 minutes.

The Jedi, on the other hand, have no problems with their outfits. Those robes open straight up, you can place the pads right onto the chest -- so upper-right-hand side of the chest, lower left, wait for the unit to determine if it's a shockable rhythm and get ready to shock. But, the Jedi do have a problem. They have a head appendage issue. And so I can be totally clear, thinking I'm ready to go, but I'm accidentally touching a tentacle and inadvertently shocking myself.

So before you hit that button, make sure you are clear and everyone else is clear.

Going back to that stormtrooper: If I did get that chest plate off in time, what would you do if you suddenly found there was a Wookiee under there, or possibly two Ewoks?

Well, lucky for us, in the kit there's actually a razor, and we can use that to shave the chest on the upper right-hand side and the lower left.

Wookiees also have another problem. They have an accessory issue. What we want to do is remove these -- anything between the two pads we want to remove, since it can cause something called "arcing." For those who don't know what arcing is, do you remember the Emperor, when he shoots electricity out the ends of his fingers --

that would be kind of like arcing. Another thing that -- Oh! By the way, he creates that by wearing wool socks under his robes.

We can also get arcing if we have an extremely wet chest. The electricity travels across the surface instead of through the heart. We can correct this with the immortal words of Douglas Adams: "Don't panic," which most of us have done today -- and also always having a towel. So, good words to go by.

The metal bikini -- unfortunately, this is where panic sets in -- like the modern bra, we have to make sure we remove, because this can cause severe arcing along with burns. But unfortunately this opens up an issue that's almost as controversial as talking about the prequels.

The mere mention of the word "nipples," and people get into a little bit of a tizzy. By the way, that is not a nipple, that's a cupcake.

Chances are, if you do have to use this, this is going to be on someone you know. And remember, everyone has nipples, except for Jabba.

But he does love cupcakes. Speaking about Jabba, if we do have to use an AED on him, remember pad placement is the same, even though he doesn't have nipples. So it's going to be upper right-hand side, lower left. If we were going through, we're shocking, getting ready to go -- after we've done the shock, one of the things we need to do is remember to do compression. The preferred method is 30 compressions and two breaths in the center of the chest, between the nipples, pressing down at least two inches, no more than two and a half, at a rate of at least 100 beats a minute, no more than 120. Unfortunately, due to the size of Jabba's mouth and also what he puts in said mouth, we may not want to actually do the mouth-to-mouth part. So instead, we can do compression-only CPR. The way of remembering the compression-only part is we can actually use the Imperial March.

I would sing it for you --

Unfortunately, that would be more something an interrogation droid would do.

Yoda. Small little guy, like a baby. What we do is basically treat him like a baby, in the sense that we're going to place one pad in the center of the chest and one in the back. If we place them both in the front, they can be too close and cause severe arcing, so we want to avoid that.

Hopefully, this helped to clarify and put some light on some of the darker issues of using an AED in the Star Wars universe, or any universe in total.

I'll leave you with one point. Remember, if you do find yourself dealing with a Wookiee, do not shave the entire Wookiee. This takes way too much time, and it only pisses them off."

Thanks for reading.

~Dr. Joe