Why has CPR become so Widely Adopted?

Timmermans argues that the widespread use of CPR reflects modern Americans’ discomfort with death. The real benefit of CPR, according to Timmermans, is that it “takes some of the suddenness of sudden death away” (1999:110). CPR allows families and friends to believe they have done everything possible by getting their loved ones to treat- ment as fast as possible. It also gives families and friends time to gather and to recognize that death may be imminent, and it gives medical personnel a sense of technical accomplishment as they fight to keep their patients’ bodily organs func- tioning as long as possible. The use of CPR, then, is part of the broader project of death brokering: the process through which medical authorities make deaths explainable, culturally acceptable, and individually meaningful such as through pain management, “death counseling,” or the gradual removal of life supports from dying patients. For these reasons and despite all its emotional and financial costs, CPR has become a valued and expected ritual in American culture.

At the same time, adoption of CPR illustrates the economics and politics as well as the cultural forces that underlie the social construction of technology. CPR would not have been so widely adopted if corporations had not had a vested economic interest in promoting it. Nor is it likely that CPR would have become the norm if corporations had been required to demonstrate its effectiveness before selling it. In fact, however, there are almost no legal requirements for manufactur- ers to demonstrate the safety or effectiveness of technical devices, so they rarely fund such research. As a result, doctors must depend on promotional materials from manufacturers and on their own clinical experiences in deciding whether to use a technology, and patients must rely on doctors’ judgments.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Why has CPR become so Widely Adopted?
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

and taste our undisputed quality.