I had never thought about the confusion the public might have between resuscitation and resurrection until I saw mention of a poem in October by Dr. Brenda Butka. The section that caught my attention was:
I can say
do not confuse resuscitation
with resurrection, although
neither works particularly well
Indeed, it does seem as if the way CPR is typically discussed implies resurrection as in, “If your heart were to stop (and you would technically be dead) would you like us to try to restart it (ie resurrect you)”? No wonder people find this an appealing concept.
We know that when we present CPR differently, people make different choices. When we talk about goals of care and values, vs. technology, people often opt for less aggressive methods. And educating them about the realities of CPR results in their making different choices. For instance, a recent study in the Journal of Oncology found that showing people with cancer a video of what CPR really involves resulted in less of them choosing to be a full code (all heroic resuscitation measures including cardiopulmonary technological support). Perhaps, when tablet technology is more accessible in our healthcare institutions, we can use such videos and more appropriate conversations to help people understand that we’re not in the resurrection business.