Big Bad Beards and 5 Reasons You Gotta’ Have One!

It’s Labor Day Weekend, and you know what that means? It’s the ceremonial end to another great summer. Fall is nearly upon us, which means college football, one last camping trip, autumn-scented candles and leaves changing colors. Oh, and your social media feeds are soon to be chock-full of everyone and their mother posting selfies with their pumpkin spice lattes!

Gross.

While the nation prepares for another crisp autumn, women across the country are starting to notice something else peculiar  – specifically about their men. Faces are becoming rougher, upper lips are starting to disappear and the familiar buzz of the electric razor doesn’t sing from the shower anymore. That’s right, it’s just about time for we the uber-macho to start our annual migration toward Destination: Winter Beard.

The recent movement that is No-Shave November has turned what was the cult into now the mainstream, but for some, the winter beard has been a tradition since before the birth of hipsters or pretty much every current Major League Baseball pitcher. In fact, Karl Marx was said to have coined the phrase “no-shave November” more than a century ago in an attempt to encourage facial hair and to piss off the bourgeoisie.

So, at the risk of inadvertently supporting a communist uprising, and as the carriers of the y-chromosome storm the shelves to stock up on beard oils and personal trimmers, I’d like to present the top five reasons that every man should join the beard brigade, and why their ladies should wave the flag in support of their manly-men.

#1: Beards are macho

We’ve heard this so many times that it may seem trite, but there’s no way around it: a dude with a well-grown, full beard just looks more badass. Not to take away from the rigid jaw line of clean-shaven guy, but if I’m going to pick someone for my posse, and I’ve got to choose between Chuck Norris with a beard and Chuck Norris beardless, I know where I’m going.

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Who’s more manly?
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I am, you sissy!

Not to mention, not all men are blessed with a square jaw line and a perfect Adam’s apple. But a good beard can even the playing field between the chiseled and the round. It’s like an airbrush for your face – hiding the subtle imperfections that previously led you to be self conscious.

What’s his face like under there?

Who the hell knows… and who the hell cares? Check out that beard!

He’s a man’s man!

#2: Beards require patience, confidence, attention to detail . . . and believe it or not, hygiene

Growing a good beard means suffering, waiting, and believing that the sacrifice will be worth achieving the goal. The unbearable itch of the first two weeks, the self-consciousness that comes with defining your new look, and the fear of screwing up your neckline on beard-trim day can drive a lesser man to give up on the entire endeavor. But those that persevere through the toils and tribulations will find they arrive in a world of zen, where the little things that used to annoy just don’t seem to be that bad.

Parking ticket?

No big deal, check out my sweet beard.

Boss at work making me stay late on Friday for another ridiculous team meeting?

It’s cool, that’s an hour for me to stroke my beard.

Busted on the BlackJack table with the dealer showing 6?

Okay, maybe not even the sweet shine of a well-oiled beard can dull that pain.

Next time, ask the dealer before you hit, idiot!

Women, if you want your man to be more dedicated, more patient, and maybe even spend a little more time in front of a mirror or showering the stank of his last three workouts off, make him grow a beard. I guarantee you’ve never seen him so careful eating soup from a spoon or had him notice that nasty nose hair creeping out from within his nostril like he will when he’s cultivating a sweet mane of glory.

 

 

#3: Your kids will love them

Kids love wrestling with their dads. And every dad knows not to wrestle with his favorite shirt on, because the collar will instantly be stretched into a sort of cloth-made taffy that can no longer be recognized as a t-shirt. Imagine the excitement on your child’s face if dad is sporting a long hairy handle right there on the chin? It’s like they’ve invented a brand new WWE move all on their own: The Beard Grab Paralyzer. Sure, it may feel like someone is literally pulling the skin off of your face, but what’s a few moments of intense, mind-altering pain when it comes to making your children happy?

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Lil’ man dreaming about the day he

And while some may still believe that a beard is nothing more than a cesspool of deadly bacteria waiting to attack your whole family in their sleep as a part of a larger plan by lesser organisms to take over humanity, the truth is that a beard isn’t any more gross than any other part of your body. So relax, and let your toddlers indoctrinate themselves into the natural development of their immune system while adoring daddy’s manly “itchy face.”

 

 

#4: Beards are a way to express yourself, without needing ink or piercings

I’m a tattoo guy of sorts. I respect the art and have ink myself, and even sported a few piercings back in my younger days. But as an ER doc, I can attest to the fact that society in general hasn’t caught up with the full-sleeves, neck-tatted white-collar job applicant quite yet. But a beard is much more palatable to the PC Police. Why should men who want to bring out their character be forced to only show it off on tank-top day or during the summer at the beach? And who wants to end up with holes in their body sans the piece of metal meant for the hole? Beards are as diverse as the men that sport them, and can be a great way to let out your inner self. Long? Short? Trimmed? Wild and free? It’s your choice, and the decision isn’t final like with a tattoo or body art. Mix it up and keep the world guessing – your face is your canvas!

#5: Beards increase virility

If your man can pull off a beard like a boss, consider yourself blessed, you’ve snagged a more attractive man who is sure to be a better father.

Don’t take my word for it, it’s science!

A study from The University of New South Wales showed that men with heavy stubble scored (no pun intended) higher than men with light stubble or a clean-shaven look on an attractiveness scale as judged by women who participated in the study. In the same study, men with full beards scored as likely better fathers with the ability to provide and protect for their families inferred by women judges.

That’s science, and you can’t argue with science!

There have even been studies that show that beards grow faster on men who have been isolated from their mates for several days, seemingly an effect of the anticipation of returning to his partner. When the lady’s away, the beard will play! See, even your beard knows that it needs to grow to impress the opposite sex!

So, if you or your man wants to step into a whole new realm of badassness, toss the razor in the trash and get ready to embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, where like with Pedro’s presidential platform, “all of your wildest dreams will come true.” Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but if you want to see what it’s like to be on the bearded side of things, no better time to start than now!

Vote for pedro

 

Just make sure to thank me if all of your wildest dreams do, in fact, come true.

 

 

What say you? Beard or no beard? For those of you on the hairier side of the aisle, do you stick with the winter beard only or go strong all twelve months? Comment below!

The Art of Eliminating “No”

I have three kids. I say ‘no’ a lot. A whole lot. Probably too much. So, I decided I wanted to try to say it less. But, when I found myself challenged with the task of avoiding saying ‘no’ for one whole week, I wondered how in the hell I’m going to pull such a challenge off without ending up duct-taped to the office chair wearing a princess dress and watching three little monkeys throw M&Ms at each other across the living room.

It was going to be hard to be a (good) dad and not say ‘no’.

The first challenger: my wife. Day 1 of my no ‘no’ challenge started in a text, like this:

Me: “I decided that I’m going to go 7 days without saying ‘no’.”

The ER Mom: “Can we build a pool this summer?”

Well played, my dear. Well played indeed. My retort:

Me: “I would love to do that! Let’s look at our funds and see how possible that is.”

Boom! Right off the bat I found a way to avoid no but not say yes, either. And, it was true. I would love to have a pool! What I would not love is the debt that often comes with putting in a pool. I got to say what I really wanted without just saying ‘no’. I’m feeling pretty good about myself right about now.

She wasn’t to be outdone.

The ER Mom: “Can we swim with dolphins in Mexico?”

I could see this was going to be a long week. But, so far, so good. At least the tough week might end with a fun swim with a dolphin or two…

Having three kids, with seven years separation between first and last, I’ve noticed how impotent the word no really is. It seems that children become quickly desensitized to this word and that it just doesn’t carry as much weight as we, the parents, may wish. This is especially true in the toddler stages. I have a two year old daughter who has a very literal definition of what no means when she utters the phrase.

“Do you want to take a bath?”

“NO!”

“Let’s go to bed.”

“NO!”

But, when she hears it, it seems to mean something else. To her, the word “no” may mean “go ahead and climb onto the top of the couch then super-man off onto the floor, just make sure you do it with a sly smile on your face” or “I think it’s awesome when you throw spaghetti across the room onto the white walls, keep going!” But, while the toddler may misinterpret what I mean when I say to her literally the very first word she ever learned to say, my older daughter – who will soon be eleven – has an entirely different viewpoint of what response “no” should elicit. Namely, a debate.

“Why not?”

It’s the phrase most commonly employed by my oldest. She asks this – I am convinced – because she knows that often I don’t even have a good reason for saying “no” other than her request simply doesn’t suit me, my mood, the current situation, or what have you. Her approach (and it’s a good one) is to hopefully catch me unwilling to say “because I said so” at least one out of twenty times and have me reconsider in a moment of guilt mixed with exasperation mixed with pity and thus allow her to continue down her intended path. In truth, it’s probably more like one out of every twenty-five times I give in, but still that’s a pretty good strategy for someone who is just learning to master multiplication and division.

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“How many times in my life have I missed out on something I would have loved to do, or an opportunity to affect someone’s life in a positive way because my track record or body language screamed ‘no’?”

 

 

But beyond the constant battles that we face when saying no to our kids, what does it say about us if we are in a constant mode of refusal in our daily lives? We have all seen the self-help gurus who tell us that one of the crucial steps to finding inner peace is learning to say “no”. I think that’s useful when we are in a situation where we are constantly and literally  being taken advantage of. Agreeing to complete someone else’s project, lying to your boss at the request of a colleague, or loaning money to a family member or friend whom you know will never pay you back all probably deserve a firm response toward the negative. But how many times in our daily lives are we really put in a position where saying “yes” will cause us anything worse than a minor inconvenience? And what’s more, how many times are we not even given a chance to say “yes” because the person(s) in our relationships have learned to expect a “no” and thus avoid the question altogether?

I remember a job I had years ago working in an emergency department. The staff loved to go out for breakfast and beers after the last night shift of the stretch. I found myself one day really hoping to be invited (it was a long, painful stretch of nights), but nobody approached me with an invitation. I asked a nurse friend of mine once why. Her response? “We didn’t figure you wanted to go because when we used to ask you’d always say ‘no.’” How many times in my life have I missed out on something I would have loved to do, or an opportunity to affect someone’s life in a positive way because my track record or body language screamed “no”?

I decided to spend a week letting “no” be a word lost from my vocabulary. I was going to make a concentrated effort in every part of my life to avoid saying “no” to anyone for any reason. It seemed impossible, until I tried.

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Me (in the back) prepping to ride “The Comet” at the Olympic bobsled track in Park City. Saying “yes” can lead to some (fast) fun!

 

 

“Knowing that I was open to any opportunity, request or situation made me actually interested in what was to come that day.”

 

 

 

 

The first thing I found was that I was excited to give it a shot. Knowing that I was open to any opportunity, request or situation made me actually interested in what was to come that day. I was excited to see what there was for me to experience when I was willing to at least consider experiencing everything. I actually woke up happier to start my day than I had in awhile.

What I didn’t experience was an overwhelming list of unreasonable asks on the part of those I came into contact with. Now, this was only a week long experiment, and it’s not as though I walked around with a sign reading, “yes man” on my chest, but I didn’t find myself actually all that burdened with the overwhelming amount of requests for my time, talents or money that I’d previously managed to convince myself existed before I’d taken on this task. Is it possible that I had overestimated how many times I’m asked for a favor or a task? Do we like to think of ourselves as taken advantage of more often than we really are? I don’t know if I can generalize a week into my life, but I know that saying “yes” didn’t really affect my life in such a way that I was sorry to have taken on this challenge.

In fact, I kind of liked it.

There are two things I got out of this challenge that made me so glad I had done it. One was learning how to say no without saying it, and we’ll get to that in bit. The other was that I was having fun with my kids again. I played more games, watched more shows, pretended to be more characters and gave more piggy-back rides than I had in a while, and I really enjoyed it. I won’t lie and say that each time I was asked to play I didn’t first start to vocalize the words, “not right now” but once I’d gotten past the initial “yes” response, I found myself really having fun. I considered myself a fun dad before this, but after a week of just saying yes, I looked before like the dad from Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle”:

“When will you give me a piggy back ride, dad?”

“I don’t know when. But we’ll get together then.

You know we’ll have a good time then!”

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of times that we can’t allow what’s happening to continue, or just can’t respond in the affirmative for whatever reason. See the above analogy of the family member bumming cash or my son doing free-dives off the back of the couch. But what I learned in my week of no “no” was that we can say “no” without every really saying it.

And people respond so very differently.

Instead of “no” when my daughter wanted to stay up past ten o’clock, my response was something like this: “it’s already past your normal bed time and you have to be up tomorrow at seven and have a pretty big day. Do you think it’s a good idea to stay up so late?” That seems like a heck of a bluff, and it is, but kids are smarter than we realize, and when given the opportunity and a little coaxing, can make the right decision for themselves. Besides, I had already decided that if she called my bluff and said that she thought it was an excellent idea, I would responded, “alright, I’ll make a deal with you and you can stay up 20 minutes longer than I think you should, but then it’s definitely time for bed.” I didn’t say no, but haven’t given in, and in reality 20 minutes isn’t going to make or break her day.

Even my two year old can be redirected without a “no”. Example: “I wish you wouldn’t throw your toys over the upstairs balcony.” sounds so much more calm and reasonable than, “NO!”

The response you get when learning how to say “no” in a different way can be even more dramatic when you practice with other adults. In my profession, I am often asked to do for or supply my patients with various things that they really shouldn’t have done or given to them. It can be easy to simply fall into a trap of perpetual “no’s”, which usually winds up in either a heated discussion or you answering for a complaint the next time you see your medical director. But there are ways to avoid having to do things without being a Nancy Reagan and just saying “no”.

“You know, Mrs, Smith, I realize that you came here expecting an MRI of your brain today, but I don’t think that’s what you need, and let me explain to you why.”

“Mr. Jones, I think that if I refilled your narcotic medication for the third time this month we both may be worsening what I’m afraid is a serious addiction problem for you. That’s not something I’m willing to do to you.”

“Bill, I’d love to help you on that project, but the truth is that I’m really swamped right now and I just know that I can’t give you the kind of effort and results you need. I’m sorry.”

The “no” in all three of those examples is very obvious, but it isn’t stated, and that’s a big deal. There is something about the word itself that casts a shadow over any reason or intent one may have. We can keep our sanity, protect our privacy, and deflect our manipulators without going down the road of “no”.

And we may even find that, occasionally, we want to say “yes”.

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What do you think? Can you find places in your life where “no” holds you back? Comment below!

 

Thanks for reading, 

The ER Dad

Budgets Are For Losers (who have money)

“Can we afford it?”

I hate that question.

Being the one in my family who spends the most amount of time monitoring our finances (my wife isn’t nearly the spreadsheet nerd that I am), I’m asked that question often, and there is never an easy answer. When someone in the family asks me that question, it is innocently framed as a “yes/no” question, but it’s a much more complicated question in my mind, with an answer that moves around like a “choose-your-way” storybook.

 

Can we afford it?

Well, that depends. What’s your definition of “afford”?

 

Do we have the money in the bank to pay for it?

Probably.

 

 

If we don’t have it in the bank, do we have enough open credit on our card to charge it?

Likely.

 

 

Do you think a bank would loan us the money if we’ll promise to pay it back with interest?

Almost certainly.

 

So, can we afford it????

My dad used to tell me, “you can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything you want,” and that’s exactly right. Life’s gratifications are simply an ever-changing laundry list of what’s most important to each of us as an individual, and the amount of capital we possess – be it financial, emotional, time, whatever – is what determines how many of the items on the list we are able to afford. That capital has to be portioned off in bits and pieces lest it run out completely and before we’ve done/gotten what we want to do/get.

None of us can literally have everything we want. But with a little planning, when it comes to goods for purchase, most of us could have any one thing we want.

So yes, we can afford it. But at what cost?

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We’ve all heard the the saying, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” The biggest mistakes I’ve seen people make when it comes to personal finance are all a direct result of a failure to plan. You wouldn’t recommend someone start out on a hike through the mountains without first plotting a course, or that the pilot you trust to take you to your vacation destination do so without first calculating how much fuel it’s going to take to get there. So why do so many of us go about our financial lives with our collective heads in the sand, spending money and consuming goods without any real idea of a plan to make the money last, and to allow the money we earn to function at its greatest potential?

 

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This ER Kid saved up money (probably selling teeth) to budget for Disney World souvenirs!

Because it’s no fun. And because, let’s face it, budgeting can suck.

 

 

 

But guess what? Budgeting is an unavoidable consequence of adulting. And adulting sometimes sucks.

 

 

 

Seriously, whether we like to admit it or not, we all need to budget at some point in our lives. Even if your method of budgeting is similar to my college days of trying to figure out how many gallons of gas I could get with the cash in my pocket and still have some left over to buy beer, that’s still budgeting. As we grow and acquire more responsibilities (read: liabilities), our budgeting hopefully becomes more sophisticated. If it doesn’t, our financial picture most certainly becomes more ominous.

As I mentioned above, I’m sort of a spreadsheet nerd, and I budget accordingly. Microsoft Excel is pretty much always open on my laptop, and I’m usually working on some sort of financial analysis – whether it be tracking my investments, comparing the financial ramifications of new investment opportunities, or even analyzing the multiple potential outcomes of one of many financial scenarios. I have a detailed budget I’ve created for our family on Excel, and the color coding, IF/THEN functions and various columns makes my wife’s head spin when she glances over my shoulder to see what’s been occupying my time in the evenings. I admit, it’s overboard, but it’s something I like to do, and I find peace in knowing that I’ve got a pretty tight handle on all things budgeting in our family.

But budgeting doesn’t have to be that tedious. It doesn’t necessarily mean planning for every conceivable eventuality, or slaving away over a calculator every Sunday night sweating the small stuff. And if you aren’t taking at least a little bit of time every now and then to take an honest look at money in and money out, and setting some goals for yourself in terms of saving some money to the side and finding a way to get ahead financially, you’re doing it wrong. And you’ll likely regret it sooner than later.

J. Money, of the site budgetsaresexy.com, has a great site dedicated to discussing personal finance and the importance of budgeting. Obviously he (and I) probably go at it with a bit more intensity than the average person, but if you spend some time exploring the reasons why, and the stories of those who have and have not taken it upon themselves to start budgeting, I think you’ll see that it’s a really good idea.

So, how should one go about budgeting? What’s the best way to sort that laundry list of wants and needs and try to afford as many of them as possible? Well, that’s a really difficult question with a very personal answer. There is no one-size-fits all solution. Many people are, by nature, less apt to consume goods and therefore spend their money, and they have no trouble at all holding on to their finances and covering expenses with ease. Others find that money literally flies out of their hands and they are forced to wait desperately for their next paycheck just to cover the expenses from their last. I would guess that most of us are somewhere in the middle – looking for a way to improve on their spending habits and maximize the potential for their money without creating too much extra hassle in their lives.

Really, I think the answer to how to start a budget is simply that: START! Make the decision to track your expenses – down to the penny – for a period of time (I recommend at least three months). If you don’t know what you really spend, you can’t know what to realistically budget for. You’ll probably be astonished at how you actually spend your money. Maybe it will motivate you to change your spending habits, maybe it won’t (we all need to do what brings us the most joy), but at least after paying close attention, you will have real data to rely upon when making a budget. Then, once you know where your money is going, see how it compares to money that’s coming in, and break down your spending and saving habits into categories with a goal in mind.

Always try to set aside at least a little bit for long term savings, and debt payments. And never budget more than you’re going to make. Relieving yourself of the burden of debt is the best thing you can do for yourself financially!

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Me when I finally make my last debt payment!

If you have a significant other, make sure to involve he or she in the process. They may be weary when you first mention the word “budget” (dun dun dun!), but if you go into the process calmly, slowly and keeping the wants and needs of each other in mind, I think you’ll find that there is a lot more collaboration than confrontation. And if you just keep ignoring the subject, you’re headed for a doomsday scenario anyway. Everyone knows that one of the most common reasons for divorce is financial strain.

 

If you’re still unsure how to get started, take a look at some sample budgets I’ve made as suggestions to share, and see if one works for you. Or, if you’re sure you want to get on the budget train and go all in, take a look at various software platforms available. In another post, I’ll share with you my review of the software we use in The ER Dad household, but if you’re interested in taking a look now, here’s the link: You Need A Budget. (Note, I do get some free time added to my personal subscription if you sign up via this link, so thanks in advance if you choose to try it out!)

Budgeting doesn’t have to be sexy. It doesn’t even have to be fun. It doesn’t have to be a stress in your life, either. But if you want to get ahead in your finances, and open doors to more items on your laundry list of wants and needs, it does have to be done. And, the sooner you get started, the sooner you start to realize that “can we afford this” becomes a much easier question to answer.

-The ER Dad

 

What are your thoughts? Do you budget? How do you do it? Comment below!

 

How to punch a dead man in the chest . . . and end up a hero!

If you don’t know CPR, you should learn. It’s cheap, easy, and may save someone’s life someday.

Having said that, did you know that CPR success stories – in general – are rare? In fact, the likelihood of someone having sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, receiving CPR and walking out of the hospital at all (let alone with good neurologic function, i.e., the brain isn’t damaged) is actually pretty crappy.

According to a 2015 study by the AHA, the rate of ROSC (return of spontaneous circulation) and subsequent survival from the hospital in a patient who had sudden cardiac arrest and received CPR by emergency medical services prior to the hospital was only 10.6%. And, only 8.3% had good neurologic outcome.

Pretty crappy.

But wait! There’s more!

Of the patients who received bystander CPR, meaning a good samaritan like yourself happened to see someone go down and think, “hey, I think that guy just died, I’d better do CPR!” and actually did it, 31.4% survived!

Now, I don’t know about you but I’ll take a three-fold increase in my likelihood of surviving any day of the week. In fact, if anybody plans to spend much time around me, maybe I need to pay for all of you to learn CPR!

panic-button-1375952_1280BUT WHAT IF I TOLD YOU THAT – FOR YEARS – DOCTORS WEREN’T RELYING SOLELY ON CHEST COMPRESSIONS AND MOUTH-TO-MOUTH TO ASSIST IN RESUSCITATION OF CARDIAC ARREST PATIENTS? WHAT IF I TOLD YOU THAT SOME DOCTORS, MYSELF INCLUDED, RELIED EVERY NOW AND THEN ON JUST A GOOD SOLID PUNCH TO THE CHEST OF A DEAD PERSON AS A MEANS TO MAKE THEIR DAY, I.E., GET THEM BACK?

 

In the 1970s, two doctors at Harvard – James E. Pennington and Bernard Lown – started studying the effect of “thumping” someone in the chest who had suffered sudden cardiac arrest. They were able to show that a forceful blow directly to the sternum could potentially get the heart out of an arrhythmia such as ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF). Bear in mind, CPR wasn’t even officially endorsed by the AHA until 1963, so this was pretty groundbreaking stuff back then!

So, how is it done? It’s easy, as described below:

  • If you witness an individual collapse and show no signs of life, first get help. Go yourself or ask someone to call 911 and to bring an automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is near.
  • Assess the individual for responsiveness. (This isn’t where you get to punch them… that part’s coming!) Tap them on the chest firmly and ask, “Are you okay?”
  • If there is no response, check to see if a patient is breathing and has a pulse. This is the look/listen/feel stage. Don’t take more than 10 seconds. if you find a pulse, great. If not, move on.
  • If there is no pulse, then this is your moment! Clench your fist, hold it ulnar (pinky) side down (like you might bang it on a table whilst showing your boss who’s really boss in a meeting) about 8-10 inches above the person’s sternum, and deliver a sharp blow to the sternum. Immediately retract your fist almost like a whipping action to create a rebound of the chest as you remove the force.
  • Start chest compressions at a rate of about 100-120 per minute.

There you have it: the process of punching someone a dead person in the chest and saving their life.

The discovery of this procedure – affectionately known as the “Precordial Thump” – was actually by mistake. Paramedics transporting a cardiac arrest patient hit a speed bump, and the jolt delivered to the patient’s chest in the back of the vehicle apparently saved the patient’s life! Funny how science is so non-technical when you get right down to it.

“So, Sam, I hear you had a major heart attack? Glad you’re doing well! What did the doctor say?”

“Not sure, Bill. I never saw one. Damned ambulance driver hit a telephone pole and I just woke up. Never did make it to the hospital.”

I’ve actually seen this done multiple times in the ED. I can remember once that the patient immediately awoke after a thump on the chest and a short (seconds) period of chest compressions. I know doctors who use this maneuver in their repertoire regularly when dealing with sudden cardiac arrest. I can’t say that it’s often this comes up for me, but for a handful of times. . .

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Now, while this may seem like a cool party trick for your next office Christmas party, the truth is that it’s probably not all that effective, and may even be harmful. As it turns out, the survival rates still weren’t all that great, and there were reports of other injuries such as sternal fractures, cardiac contusions, etc.. Still, I know some physicians and EMS providers who would argue that this is still something to be tried when things are as bad as bad can be. After all, a common adage of the ED is that  you can’t kill a dead person. Still, the evidence is pretty clear that this technique isn’t really all that helpful, and probably only delays time to good bystander CPR, which is most definitely helpful.

In fact, in 2010, the American Heart Association released new guidelines stating that a precordial thump should not be used in unwitnessed cardiac arrest outside of the hospital, and should be considered only if there is a witnessed arrest into a (monitored) VT. In other words, if I’m your ER doc and we are talking while you’re on the telemetry monitor, and you pass out and I see your rhythm change to VT, I’ll probably punch you in the chest. Sorry and you’re welcome. But, if I’m out walking my dog and see you lying on the ground without a pulse, I’ll stick with good ole’ CPR, and would suggest you all do the same!