“You have to find a way to push off against [a surface].”
Can’t Phone Home
If a medical emergency occurs on the International Space Station, it’d be more than 240 miles and a spaceship ride from the nearest doctor. Luckily, astronauts like the European Space Agency’s Samantha Cristoforetti practice life-saving procedures ahead of time.
Cristoforetti posted a video of herself practicing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on board the ISS last week, showcasing several methods astronauts could choose from. With little to no gravity, regular methods would only send Cristoforetti zooming away from the very patient that needs CPR.
But orbital ingenuity knows no bounds. While her “patient” lay on the CPR bed, Cristoforetti first flipped upside down, then put her feet on the ISS roof and used her legs and arms to create chest compressions.
“If a person stops breathing or their heart stops beating, chest compressions can help pump blood to keep them alive,” Cristoforetti said in the two-minute clip. “You have to find a way to push off against [a surface].”
Ounce of Prevention
Although Digital Trends reported yesterday that neither CPR or the automated external defibrillator (AED) on board the ISS have ever been necessary, that may not be the case forever.
Increased space exploration, including NASA’s planned missions to the Moon and to Mars, mean humans will soon spend more time in space than ever before. The thought of having a medical emergency aboard a spacecraft is terrifying, but it does seem like astronauts — and their support crews below — are thinking ahead.