UCEM Guidelines on Resuscitation

With the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR)’s worksheets now being made available for viewing as part of a worldwide effort involving hundreds of dedicated researchers working together over many years, UCEM has decided to preempt the next iteration of guidelines by creating their own. These guidelines were compiled from Professor Bristol’s toilet-side notebook in under 12 minutes. Nevertheless, UCEM is confident that even the most hardened of resuscitators will find these guidelines informative, realistic and highly practical.

As a wise man once said:

First check your own pulse.

Then start with the ABCs:




And end with D and E:

Declare dead


Between C and D, put on your Code Gold! CD and consider the following therapeutic options:

  • Shout — communication is paramount. The best approach is to establish your leadership role on entering the room by shouting at a deafening volume: “If you are not doing anything, get out of the room!” With a bit of luck, you might be able to leave as well…
  • Help — always call for help, even if that means curling up into the fetal position on the floor, sucking one’s thumb, and screaming “help, help, help!”…
  • Intubate as required — to save on cost, don’t bother with a laryngoscope, a torch and a bent spoon will suffice.
  • Tobacco smoke enemas should be considered as a last ditch measure — As Prof Bristol always says, “If you’re going out, you might as well go out in a puff of smoke”.

Assign appropriate tasks to Medical Emergency Team (MET) members:

  • Stand back and let the MET CNL (senior nurse) run the show — things will go much more smoothly and you can sit back and relax.
  • House officers — Keep them as far away from the patient as possible by assigning them the job of looking through the patient’s medical records for the ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ order that surely must be there somewhere…
  • Invite the biggest burliest orderlies you can find on the way to the code to come along with you, to ensure that the CPR is effective.
  • Telephone duty — An important role best assigned to the medical registrar, with the added advantage of also keeping him or her as far away from the patient as possible.

Remember these points:

  • Stab the patient in the heart with an adrenaline-filled syringe at the first available opportunity — after all, it worked well in Pulp Fiction, and even if it doesn’t work it looks heroic and is bound to impress the medical students.
  • How many minutes should you continue to resuscitate for before calling it a day? If in doubt, try this formula: 80 – (age in years). Multiply by 3 if a toxicological cause is suspected.
  • Is your suction working? If you haven’t checked you’d better be wearing gumboots as you have a 99.9% chance of ending up wading through a pool of vomit.
  • The outcome of the resuscitation has no relationship to the effectiveness of the resuscitation effort – unless more than one person ends up dead at the end of it.

And finally, The Bottom Line (aka ‘the Flat Line’):

The likelihood of a good outcome following cardiac arrest follows a ‘flat, line-shaped‘ curve after the first few minutes.

Good outcome is on the y-axis (admittedly you need a magnifying glass to see it) and any variable you can think of goes on the x-axis.

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  1. Ed Schaefer says

    I have tied a bent spoon to my torch.
    Prof Bristol leads us from the darkness of our ignorance yet again to live longer in the shining light of the UCEM.

  2. Waza Holden says

    As a senior nurse I thought it imperative that the UCEM should reconsider their current guidelines taking into account those followed by their nursing work mates –
    A -- Anyone not at tea break to deal with this?
    B -- Broke a nail last time I did this so cant do compressions!
    C -- Can anyone tell me if this Dr is speaking English so I can figure out what he is on about?
    D -- Dont wait for instructions as it will stop you getting to tea break on time.
    E -- Ensure that all documentation is complete – sign on for shift / sign off for shit.

    (It should always be remember that an Air Viva attached to a high flow oxygen metre and set to 30lts / min makes a great substitute for a hair dryer should you need a quick touch up in between patients).
    I hope this helps with the implementation.

    • says

      Indeed, these guidelines could have come straight out of the ‘Cardiac Arrest’ TV show. However, I still think ‘Getting On’ is the most realistic hospital-based TV show I’ve seen.


  3. says

    Hell yeah! I usually skip the “Arrive” part and just go right to the “Criticise” part from the comfort of my call room. While listening to Code Gold, of course…

  4. Doc Quixote says

    Interesting that you have an image of CPR instructions on an iPhone…at my last resuscitation I went to look up CPR on my iPhone and ended up playing “angry birds.” I doubt that the outcome of the code was affected at all. And yes, I capitalized the “P” in iPhone, because I’ma douchebag.