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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  1. M K DAVIES,
  2. A HOLLMAN

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    Cardiopulmonary resuscitation has featured rarely on postage stamps. Some of the elements of life support and resuscitation are illustrated on the stamps from Great Britain, Gilbert and Ellice Islands, and Somalia. Great Britain issued a set of four stamps (for expedition, skills, service, and recreation) on 12 August 1981 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. Printed on phosphorised paper and designed by P Sharland, the 22 pence stamp for service (as part of the gold award) depicts bystander external cardiac massage. Gutter pairs of the stamp are shown. (All modern Great Britain commemoratives are printed in sheets of two panes separated by a blank margin called a gutter. This format first appeared in 1972 and the term gutter pair refers to two stamps separated by the gutter margin. Stamps in this format are obviously rarer than singles.) Gilbert and Ellice Islands in the South Pacific issued three stamps in 1970 to commemorate the centenary of the British Red Cross. The International Red Cross was founded in 1863 following proposals by Jean-Henri Dunant (1828–1910), a Swiss businessman who witnessed the carnage at the Battle of Solferino on 24 June 1859. Appalled at the lack of medical aid and facilities for the wounded he published his book A memory of Solferino and circulated it to European heads of government advocating that neutral status should be given to the wounded and the facilities used to transport and treat them. On 26 October 1863 a conference was held in Geneva where many of his proposals were accepted. On 22 August 1864 the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded of Armies in the Field was signed. An insignia was required to identify these personnel and services, and the 1864 convention chose a red cross on a white field—the Swiss flag in reverse. The 10 cent Red Cross stamp from Gilbert and Ellice Islands shows mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The only stamp issued that shows defibrillation is the 1980 stamp from Somalia as part of a set of three commemorating the 20th anniversary of the World Health Organisation whose logo is incorporated in the design. The stamp is listed in the Stanley Gibbons 1990 catalogue as representing “heart examination”.

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