Understanding the AED Miracle in the Movie “Bean”

October 21, 2013Comments Off on Understanding the AED Miracle in the Movie “Bean”

If you happened to see the movie “Bean” (starred by Rowan Atkinson, a.k.a. Mr. Bean); you might be familiar on how an automated external defibrillator (AED) looks like and basically works. In the movie, Mr. Bean luckily saved the life of his friend’s daughter when he unintentionally joined the surfaces of the two AED pads, which made him bounce into the unconscious lady. Is it possible? Yes, because chest compression was somehow performed and resulted into the lady’s recovery of heart functions. Is it advisable? Technically not, because it’s not the prescribed means of doing CPR and obviously, it’s not the proper use of AED.

It is best to learn first how an AED works so you can understand how the “miracle” happened in the said movie. An automated external defibrillator is nothing but a computer-based defibrillator, which is capable of scanning the patient’s heart rhythm and make analysis out of it. One primary type of AED is the semi-automatic, which gives the user the option whether or not to continue delivering the necessary electric shock to the sufferer’s chest. The other main AED type is the fully automatic, which has the ability to decide on the necessary actions to be taken, including the precise amount of electric shock to be applied. In both types, the released electric shock depolarizes a major mass of the heart muscle. It could also cease the arrhythmia and enable the reestablishment of normal sinus rhythm.

The electric shock is released via the surfaces of the AED’s defibrillator pads. Once these surfaces are pressed into the patient’s chest, the electric shock is transmitted and the patient’s body reacts impulsively. That is why it is suggested to secure a pillow under the patient’s head when applying AED because otherwise, it could bang his head into a hard surface and will cause head injury. Back in the movie, Bean accidentally shorted the two defibrillator pads and so the collision of two electrical shocks threw him hardly. Because of the huge force that acted upon him, his impact on the patient’s body apparently served as a single chest compression, which was miraculously equivalent to the necessary electric shock to resume the patient’s heart functionality.

Of course, Bean’s “method” of using the AED is incorrect. One main reason for that is the risk of applying too much chest compression force onto the patient, which could worsen the case. Second is the possibility of leading into another accident like getting electric shocked and colliding into a hard surface or a pointed object. Also, the improper use of AED could damage the device, which may even cause short circuit that could start fire.

In case you are interested on more about the proper use of AED, it’s a good idea to take AED Medical Oversight and AED Program Management course at Citywide CPR. Complete this course and you will surely become prepared enough to make the most of any AED equipment to use in saving a cardiac arrest victim’s life. Feel free to visit the official Citywide CPR AED Medical Oversight and AED Program Management page to learn more about what this course has to offer.