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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ladies & Gentlemen, Make Way for Robo-Medic

I first became worried that the robots were going to take over for you and me when they began installing self-check out lanes at the grocery store. Even though they still need a supervisor to be on-hand to scope out the scene for thieves and imbeciles, it's pretty much just you and the scanny-thingy. Although my interactions with grocery store clerks are often rote, formulaic and exasperating, we're still fostering the bonds of human interpersonal communication. Even the clerk who tried to talk to me about baseball was doing a yeoman's job of forging ahead with the luminous and lofty goal of human contact.

And good for him.

It's easy to forget, though, that robots have been around for a while. They've been pretty much building our cars for a while now. That cute little Roomba bastard is soon going to replace Consuela, the green-card coveting house-wench who has to take the bus to your 4br, 2ba brick colonial from her rickety rowhome en el barrio. And I'm quite sure that the Japanese are, right at this moment, working out the schematics for a life-sized, self-lubricating companion.

And good for them.

But if the preponderance of ATMs, automated car-washes, and cyber-waiters isn't enough to convince you that the era of human dominance is at an end, I present you with the Lucas 2.

Yes, ladies & gents: it's an automated CPR machine, and not only is it better than you, it's better than the Lucas 1.

Because I am an emergency medical technician living in the heady daze of street-retirement, I still sometimes get emails from a website called, which is the official website of the Journal of Emergency Medical Services. They have interesting, engaging articles about medics who get into roadside brawls with state troopers, news about continuing education and re-certification, the latest advances in treating Diabetty and Heart Attack Jack and, yes, product announcements. Products like the coolest new blue whacker light-bar for you to put on top of your Dodge Caravan, or cool perforated leather gloves you can wear so your grip doesn't slip while you're lifting a stretcher containing 520-pound Bertha McSupersize. Products like the Lucas 2.

Folks, the era of automated, robotic CPR has arrived.

So, here's the deal. You're eating dinner at Windsor Palace. Sir Cerebral Strokesalot goes down while consuming his leg of mutton that is embossed with the likeness of Elizabeth II. The fire brigade is summoned but you, with your quick-thinking and cunning skills, notice a box on the wall that is marked "LUCAS 2: Break Glass Only In Emergency." You run over to it. Being British, you are consumed with guilt at smashing an object and causing a disturbance, so you gently tap on the glass with your shrimp fork until it shatters. You remove the Lucas 2, which looks very much like a pogo stick for midgets, and you race over to Sir Strokesalot. You plop the thing on top of his sternum and press the button that says "Press Here to Wake the Dead," and the Lucas 2 goes into action. Up and down that thing goes like a sonofabitch. There are horrified gasps from the crowd. Ladies swoon, and so do the men, because they're all English and gay and shit. The fire brigade finally comes and they're all like, "Oy! What's all this then!?" And you'll be all like, "Look! Me and Lucas 2 revived this twiggy motherfucker!" And then you'll be hanged for using language like that in front of the Queen, you bloody vulgarian.

Yeah. So, seriously-- there's a CPR machine.

Be afraid.

I don't know how I feel about it. Part of me is looking at it from the point of view of a collapsing civilian which, as an incurable hypochondriac, I'm always afraid of becoming, and the other part of me is looking at it from the perspective of a pre-hospital provider, which I was and, though inactively still am, and may one day be again. Who knows? The potentially collapsing civilian in me is very skeptical of this thing because, if a normal person doing chest compressions is liable to break a few of my brittle, ginger ribs, a fucking machine is probably going to break all of them.

The pre-hospital provider in me is skeptical of this machine because it seems like a very expensive way to do the same thing that human beings can do anyway. Yes, the machine doesn't get tired after thirty minutes of chest compressions like humans would but, realistically, if you're doing CPR on someone for thirty minutes either by yourself or with a machine-- stop and face facts: he's fucking dead, so what's the difference if the machine can go on and on for an hour and not get "tired?" Any pre-hospital provider who has a shred of honesty or intelligence will tell you that that CPR without the assistance of an Automated External Defibrillator has an extremely low/poor success rate-- so, why spend the money when you can just as easily send two EMTs to the scene making $11.00/hr to bang on somebody's chest? It's just one more thing that has to be inspected every year, can break and requires man hours to train people how to use.

I mean, forget the automatic chest-compression device. What would really be great would be an air compressor attached to a pair of robot lips so that you wouldn't have to put your mouth on some Herpes-scabbed homeless motherfucker. Now that's a CPR machine I'd support.

Of course, you know perverts would just buy it for their own sordid purposes.

And good for them.


  1. i could use a Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons at my pad

  2. And see, this is why I have such admiration for medical people. Because I would let some yucky, ugly, gross person die before I would put my mouth on 'em.


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