An early broadside with detailed instructions to resuscitate victims of near drowning, published just two years after the founding of the Maatschappij tot Redding van Drenkelingen (1767), the first Dutch lifesaving service.
The first thing that should to be done once a victim has been pulled from the water is administering a tobacco smoke enema. Then the patient's body needs to be warmed (for which, among others, wooden blankets, rubbing the patient’s back, and administering small doses of brandy are recommended), followed by rescue breathing and, if possible, bloodletting.
Of course the most intriguing bit is the advice to revive the apparently drowned with a tobacco smoke enema. Although this method seems absurd today, in the late 18th century it was widely used to treat a broad range of ailments and diseases, from colds to cholera. In the 19th century it fell into disuse after it was discovered that nicotine is toxic.
A 1769 broadside with instructions to resuscitate victims of near drowning
Placaat. De Staaten van Holland en Westfriesland [...] doen te weeten: alsoo wy in ervaring zyn gekoomen, dat veele van onse goede ingezeetenen, wanneer eenig persoon uit het water opgehaad wordende geen teekens van leeven geeft...
's Gravenhage, Isaac Scheltus, 1769.
Broadside (ca. 42 x 32,5 cm). Folded twice, the back with an insignificant stain, otherwise in fine condition and untrimmed.
Together with a printed document (ca. 33 x 42cm), folded twice and signed in manuscript, sent by the States of Holland and Westfriesland to the printer instructing him to publish the present Placaat. With a contemporary manuscript annotation. Some browning, several folds, otherwise in fine condition.