Friday, April 22, 2016

must see Danish movie, "Pushing Air" : when're you willing to ask anyone for help, everyone benefits ...

One Prob.

They haven't actually filmed it yet -- in fact they don't know that they are going to do so.

But they will.

That's because it is an uplifting true story from backward Copenhagen of 1952 with so many dramatic but true events in it, all just made for the cinema screen that even Hollywood couldn't dreamt them all up.

Its about a real famous guy named Ibsen - no,no, not the Swedish one, the Danish one : Dr Bjorn Ibsen, 1915-2007.

In 1952, Ibsen was 'just' a freelance anesthetist, without  hospital post at even the most humble of hospitals.

Not the sort of consultant normally invited to the big Med Chiefs powwow when they go into full crisis mode - as when 6000 Danes suddenly got polio and 300 of them started dying from an inability to breath on their own.

This in a country with only one or two iron lungs for  all of them.

The iron lung pulls air out of patients and it clearly wasn't working  --patients were still dying left and centre ---- it might even be killing rather than helping them.

Luckily and surprisingly, bog ordinary Ibsen actually knew of the many advances made at the research lab level about how to correctly respirate patients - even if all the worlds' doctors,medical students and med school professors clearly did not.

'Why not,' Ibsen gently suggested, 'why not push air into the patients instead of pulling it out - they won't then die of too much CO2 in the blood.'

'Simply cut a hole in their neck, insert a simple rubber tube attached to a simple rubber bellows and have a strong but simple young med student push air into the dying patients - around the clock, for days - until they have time to stabilize.'

To his great credit, the big Chief of Medicine Henry Lassen bought into his radical idea totally.

Ibsen was soon proven right, and  thanks to the help of over a thousand students and their hundreds of thousands hours of relentless pumping, Ibsen's idea saved about a hundred young Danes who otherwise would have died .

If Ibsen's idea sounds familiar - a room, with round the clock specialists, set aside specifically to ventilate and feed people until they can breath and eat on their own, that is because it is.

We call it it 'the ICU'.

And don't tell me that you, your friend or a family member has never had their live saved in one, because I won't believe you.

You got it, Ibsen set up the first informal ICU and next year, the first formal ICU.

Meanwhile his original simple idea - "push in, not out" - was  also instantly a sensation among doctors worldwide because they saw it could work in many other medical circumstances.

Soon it was generally adopted and  it , along with ICUs has probably saved maybe millions of lives worldwide in the sixty years since.

This is probably the most dramatic story ever to come out of Denmark since Hamlet, so I just know some bright spark among its filmmakers will run with it...

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