The Virginia Gazette

Today in the 1770s: October 15

WILLIAMSBURG, October 15, 1772.
Rules for recovering DROWNED PERSONS. Blow strongly into the Fundament with a Tobacco Pipe, or any other proper Instrument, either Air, or, as soon as it can be procured, the Smoke of Tobacco, which its Heat and irritating Quality render more efficacious. The sooner this Remedy is applied the better; and it should be continued without Intermission, though it should for a considerable time seem to produce no Effect. While this is doing, and with all possible Expedition, the Body should be dried and warmed, it having sometimes lain so long in the Water as not only to be cold, but stiff. This may be done by various Means, by the application of hot Flannels, and if no Fire is at Hand, of the under Garments of the Bystanders, or by putting the Body into a warm Bed with some healthy and living Person; at the same Time strongly rubbing it with warm Flannels moistened with Brandy, or sprinkled with fine dry Salt, along the Spine of the Back from the Neck to the Waist, and applying a Sponge, or Linen dipped in Brandy, or Spirit of Sal Ammonine, or some other strongly volatile spirit to the Nostrils and Temples, sometimes also tickling the Nostrils and Neck with a Feather. But no Brandy, Wine, or any other strong Liquor, either alone or mixed with Salt, or other irritating Substances, must be put down the Throat till Signs of Life have manifestly appeared. Instead of blowing Air or Smoke up the Fundament, one of the Bystanders may apply his Mouth to that of the Person to be recovered, and stopping the Nostrils with one Hand, while he supports himself with the other, blow with all his Force in Order to inflate the Lungs. A Vein should also be opened, as soon as possible. It should also be remembered, that rolling the Body upon a Barrel, and hanging it up with the Head downwards, are pernicious Practices, and tend rather to destroy than recover the Patient. Neither should the Methods here directed to be taken be neglected in Despair, however long the Person may have remained in the Water, for there is no indubitable Sign of Death but the Beginning of a Putrefaction. Persons may have lain not only Days, but Weeks, without any Signs of Life, and yet have recovered.

Virginia Gazette (Purdie & Dixon) October 15, 1772

About this entry:

This amazing document may have appeared in response to drownings caused by a hurricane earlier in October 1772. The Virginia Gazette of October 1 referred to the hurricane when describing the problems of ships trying to enter the James River at the time of the hurricane.

Sources: VA Gazette, P&D, 10/1/1772

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