Sunday, January 6, 2008

Personal Pet Peave

Here's a question for the movie industry:

Don't they have medical professionals on the movie set? EMT's, Nurses, maybe even the occasional doctor?

I'm guessing no.

Because in all the years I've been watching TV and Movies I have yet to see CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) portrayed correctly.

Would it be so difficult, really?

You know they offer classes at the local Red Cross and I'd be willing to bet that there's some kind of union rule or OSHA regulation or something that requires at least one person on the set to be CPR and rescue breathing qualified - couldn't they offer some advice on the set?

(Digression: Frankly, I don't understand why everybody isn't basic CPR/Rescue Breathing/First Aid qualified - how come we don't teach that in elementary school, and require periodic requalification through high school graduation?).

Oh, and another thing - CPR almost never, never, restarts a heart. CPR is intended as 'life maintenance' until the paramedics arrives. Also, if first aid does manage to restart a heart (either through (sigh) CPR or an AED or hospital defibrillator) the victim isn't immediately all better. No really. They're gonna be in the hospital for a while - not up and about slaying monsters ten minutes after revival.

Really, is it too much to ask?


  1. (Digression: Frankly, I don't understand why everybody isn't basic CPR/Rescue Breathing/First Aid qualified - how come we don't teach that in elementary school, and require periodic requalification through high school graduation?)

    I went to school in Alaska, and had to get my basic first aid card in order to pass 5th grade. And in order to graduate high school, everyone was required to get basic lifeguard. But that was way back in the olden days...

  2. I'm pretty sure that the L.A. unions require someone be CPR trained on set, but nowhere else. For some reason or other, its been in various contract negotiations, but its been one of the first things to be dropped. (Maybe 'cause there's no payday involved?)

    My personal Movie Pet Peeve is when there's a movie that's supposed to be set in NYC and they have a car chase that spends an extended period of time running through alleys. There are a total of 7 alleys in Manhattan and any car chase through them would either be really short or require "time outs" while they traveled to the next one.

    Newest move pet peave? I got a script yesterday that refers to us as "New Yorkeans". WTF?

  3. Jim, I don't know. But I suspect it has to do with "creative license" and "moving the story forward."

    It's the same reason I typically won't watch movies or shows about the military. They so often get the simplest things wrong, when any high school student could of helped them check their facts for accuracy. And don't even get me started on that utter pit of bad writing, JAG.

  4. Alex, my son goes to school in the Valley, he's in 6th grade, so far no sign of first aid training.

    Last year I taught basic and advanced first aid including CPR and how to put in stitches to the Boys Scouts (this was before the scouts and I parted ways). It amazed me that none of the adult leaders were advanced first/CPR qualified, especially here in Alaska.

    Nathan, I admit to being a little shocked - honestly, I would have thought that OSHA would require at least an EMT on the set - what if Micheal Jackson's hair catches on fire? Have we learned nothing, nothing?

    Janiece, as to moving the story forward - see, showing CPR correctly would be easier than showing it incorrectly.

    And yeah - JAG. Seriously, what an utter POS. Just once I'd like to see a real day in the life of a Navy JAG portrayed correctly: I.E.
    "LT, you got those power's of attorney done yet?"

    "Uh, no Captain, I was at the clinic because my carpel tunnel syndrome was acting up."

    "That's what you get for jerking off all day, LT. Nobody goes home until the paperwork's done!"

    "Aye, Captain, War is hell!"

  5. Jim,

    If we've got stunts or any kind of special effects scheduled, there will be an EMT and standby ambulance on set. Some shows have a "set nurse" there every day, but it's only mandated in California because CalOSHA.


    1. CalOSHA obviously pays more attention than other states to film biz.

    2. In NYC at least, ambulance response time is under 3 minutes on average.

    3. If we're in the middle of nowhere, odds are we'll have some kind of medical personnel on set.

    Regardless, when the scene is being shot where CPR is being administered, the EMT will be getting a cup of coffee somewhere warm. :-)

  6. In a small Indiana school, I learned CPR and got certified in sophomore health class. But unfortunately, eleven years later, I don't remember the specifics.

  7. My family has personal experience with this one.

    Many years ago, my dad had a massive heart attack in the middle of nowhere. My sister, who works in the medical profession, and my cousin, who's a CPR-certified metro bus driver, performed the CPR. They had to keep at it for 25 minutes, as they were in the middle of nowhere.

    Unfortunately, it didn't help. I wasn't there - I got the phone call from 1500 miles away.

    My sister found out with research after the fact that it rarely does - it's just a stopgap until the patient can receive more effective treatment - defibrillator, and/or drugs.

    I'm not saying this to ask for sympathy - it's been many years and while we miss him, we're fine.

    Not only the inaccuracy of the way CPR is done - but the ridiculous way that it always helps, within a few seconds - is certainly a pet peeve of mine too!

    I can't usually watch movies that have technology plots - Live Free or Die Hard was a comedy for me - and my husband can't stand most legal shows. (He liked A Few Good Men though.)

    Note: after I got AED (defibrillator) training at work - I did go and renew my long-lapsed CPR certification. Even though it often doesn't work.

  8. Complete tangent:

    You know, enjoying Nathan's story as it unfolds reminds me - what's going on with Van? Or is Deep Thunder on hiatus for now?

  9. Deep Thunder suffered a catastrophic interruption commonly referred to as Christmas Break. I am easily distracted and even more easily irritated - and having an eleven year old under foot has made it simply impossible to write.

    I know there are those who can write hanging upside down on a waterboard in the middle of a Gitmo riot with Dick Cheney in a speedoo doing the electric boogaloo on their heads to Christian rock music while howler monkeys beat on trash cans in the background - Alas, I am not one of them. I require peace and quiet, and if interrupted I become even more unpleasant then I usually am. So, yeah, both the Deep Thunder project and my conventional novel writing are on hiatus until Monday.

    Today I'm putting away christmas crap and working in the woodshop.

  10. One more benefit of being Jewish?

    I just read Jim's comment about putting away Christmas crap and realized I haven't dealt with the holiday decorations. I walked to the front window, picked up my Menorah, walked across the room and put it on the bookcase.

    Holiday cleanup complete! Woot!

    And by the by (I love saying that), there's gonna be a contest announced on my bookblog in the next two or three days. Fun will be had by all!

  11. fun, yeah, I'm in - providing it doesn't suck up too much of my time :) (yeah, like that's a real threat).

  12. Well, yer gonna hav ta think up stuff. U kin do-it wyl ur doin udder stuff.

  13. Nathan - will this contest require the participants to look ridiculous? Because I'm not a fan of "how low can you go" type things.

    But as I recall... you run a fun contest. :)

  14. Actually I'm a total freakin' liar. I just posted Chapter Eight and realized that I need winners by Chapter Thirteen.

    So, the contest is now posted.

    Jeri, you won't look ridiculous (unless your entries are...ridiculous...in a not ridiculous way. If you know what I mean).

    I'd recommend reading Chapter Eight before trying to participate.

    I now cease my obnoxious pimping on Jim's site. (I set up your link today, so I get a pass, right?)

  15. Nathan I don't have any rule about pimping. Pimp all you like, and that goes for the rest of you.

    Have at it.

  16. Uh, let me amend that - pimping is OK for the regulars and semi-regulars. I draw the line at blatant spam or and drive-by suckupary - that shit gets deleted without comment.

  17. Nathan -- good contest, my mental wheels are turning. (or spinning, which is similar but with NO TRACTION) ;)

    Jim, I understand on the writing thing! Great description of life at home over break w/ a kid. Dick Cheney in a Speedo about made me wash my mind out w/ soap!

    Unfortunately, my writing seems to come in two modes - hot or cold.

    If my project is hot, I can focus through anything - I could write on my Treo in the theatre watching the first Matrix.

    And if my project is cold, I just can't get moving on it, I find anything I can to distract myself. Shoot, the dog snoring in the office with me can be a distraction.

    I'm working on a cold project now - it's a script for someone else's film contest - and I'm utterly uninspired. Each paragraph is like pulling a tooth.

    I think I need to start on a parallel project I enjoy just to keep my output flowing.

  18. Jeri,

    Where is this film/script contest? I don't have time to play but it sounds like fun to watch.

  19. I could write on my Treo in the theatre watching the first Matrix

    Ahh! So that was you...

  20. Nathan, the guy I'm working with is going to online film school at Academy of Art University in SF. He says they have some sort of proprietary competition and/or competition interface called Open Box. I have never heard of Open Box nor could I find anything on it online.

    Maybe he's making it up. ;) Doesn't matter, it still gets me writing.

  21. Grade school for me was in Anchorage. High school was Wasilla, though.

    And, I did say 'way back when'...

  22. Alex, me too.

    We're pretty happy with colony, it's a damned fine public school and I guess they can't teach everything.

    That's OK, I taught him CPR and rescue breathing (It's like insurance, I figure I'm going to need it sooner or later).


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