On 3 December 1732, at Alloa,
Scotland, local surgeon William Tossach resuscitated
a suffocated coal-pit miner, James Blair, by mouth-to-mouth
rescue breathing. The worker had been "in all appearance
dead," after being been carried up 34 fathoms from the mine
"to the Mouth of the Pit, which was between half
an Hour and three Quarters after he had been left in the Bottom of it."
The technique is believed to have been
in use from ancient times, so Tossach was probably not the first to
utilize expired air ventilation. However, he left what appear to be the
first clinical description of the procedure in the medical literature,
which he wrote twelve years later.
"The colour was natural, except where it
was covered with Coal-dust;
his eyes were staring open, and his Mouth was gaping wide; his Skin was
cold; there was not the least pulse in either Heart or Arteries, and
not the least Breathing could be observed; So that he was in all
appearance dead. I applied my Mouth close to his, and blowed my breathe
as strong as I could; but having neglected to stop his Nostrils all the
Air came out at them; Wherefore taking hold of them with one hand and
holding my other on his Breast at the left Pap I blew again mv breath
as strong as I could. Raising his Chest fully with it: and immediately
I felt six or seven very Quick Beats of the heart: his Thorax continued
to play. and the Pulse was felt soon after in the Arteries.
Reference:Tossach WA. A man in appearance recovered by distending the lungs
air. Med Essays and Obs
Soc Edinb, 1744; v (part 2): 605-608.
I then opened a Vein in his Arm; which,
after giving a small Jet, sent
out the Blood in Drops only, for a Quarter of an Hour … And
then he bled freely. Tho' the lungs continued to play, after I had
first set them in Motion; yet for more than half an Hour, it was only
as a pair of bellows would have done, that is, he did not so much as
grone, and his Eyes and Mouth remained both open. After about an Hour
he began to yawn, and to move his Eyelids, Hands, and Feet. In an Hour
more he came prettv well to his Senses, and could take Drink; but knew
nothing at all that had happened after his lying down at the Foot of
the Ladders, till his waking "
- Today in Science History event description on 3 Dec 1732.