Annie…Are You Okay?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Today’s post is courtesy of “Random Internet Searches.” Well, really, not so random…I was doing some research on CPR manikins for my fiction. So, there was, at least, sound reasoning for the search before it branched off into the hinterland.

Here’s the useful thing I learned: “manikin” is the appropriate spelling for manikins that serve medical training purposes. “Mannequin” is still appropriate for the insensate figures that model clothing in the few remaining brick-and-mortar stores that employ them.

What follows are the probably-not-as-useful things I learned.

I dug a little deeper than I needed to, because I wanted to learn whatever became of Resusci-Anne. I’ve had CPR training in the past three years or so, and had access to some pretty high-tech manikins, and not one of them was named Resusci-Anne. I was a bit disappointed by that. Anne is both my pen name and the first name I’ve answered to all my life, and I’m partial to it.

Turns out, she’s still around. She’s trademarked by a Norwegian company called Laerdal. But there are plenty of other alternatives available. Kind of like smart phones. If you don’t want to go with Laerdal, you could go with Simulaids Brad and Paul, or CPARLENE, or Fat Old Fred. (As impolitic as that last name may be, I have to admit, it’s memorable.) I think Resusci-Anne might be like the original iPhone.

And her story is kinda fascinating. She was developed by toy maker Asmund Laerdal and anesthesiologist Bjorn Lind, and made her debut in Norway in 1960. She got the name “Anne” after a popular doll in Laerdal’s line of toys. But what’s really trippy is how she got her face. According to the Internet, Resusci-Anne’s face is modeled from a death mask of an unknown woman pulled from the Seine River in Paris. In the 1880s. I guess death masks were a thing back then, and hers was one of the biggest things going as the twentieth century approached. She was known as “L’Inconnue de la Seine.” Apparently, Asmund Laerdal was taken with the story, and that’s why he chose to let L’Inconnue de la Seine’s face live on in Resusci-Anne.

Finally, why did I title this post with the refrain from Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal?” Because (according to the Internet), Michael Jackson reportedly picked up the lyric from a CPR training course. Decades ago, back when Resusci-Anne was still young, CPR instructors would begin the practical training on the manikin with the words, “Annie…Annie…are you okay?” It has since been modified to simply, “Are you okay?” Presumably because not every person needing assistance is named Annie.

According to one source, CPR training was also the inspiration for the Bee Gees’ “Stayin Alive.”

I love Random Internet Searches.

2 thoughts on “Annie…Are You Okay?

  1. I love your article. I used to be a biomedical technician so am familiar with the Laerdal brand. I have also seen the documentary where Michael J explains where he got the lyrics for the song Smooth Criminal – one of my favorite music videos.Hi from New Zealand. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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