[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Progress in Pediatrics
January 1930


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Marquette University.

Am J Dis Child. 1930;39(1):174-178. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1930.01930130186020

Methods of resuscitation of asphyxiated new-born infants as practiced at the present time are more nearly like those of the dark ages than any other procedure in medicine. Mathieu and Holman1 compared them to a chapter from "Mother India," while Henderson2 stated that "no single discovery in medical science or improvement in practice could do more to save lives than would measures to avoid the losses that now occur within a few minutes after birth." The reason for this situation can be found in the statements contained in textbooks of physiology and obstetrics. In such accounts, stress is laid on the effects of counter-irritation, or shock, as accomplished by vigorous slapping, plunging the infant into ice-cold water, swinging the infant by the feet through the air, dilating the rectal sphincter, and in general, squeezing, hauling and manhandling. Breathing is supposed to be initiated by these procedures, but in