the shocks (defibrillation)

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Agito a42

Senior Member
Source: Life (2017), an American movie about six astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Miranda: Prep the defibrillator and get the shocks down. 360 joules.
( ... )
(David shoots Hugh a few times)
( ... )

Miranda: Still fibrillating. Just stack the shocks if you have to.

Could you tell me please what the shocks mean here? How can you get them down or stack them.
 
  • manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    A defibrillator uses electroshocks to restart a fibrillating heart.
    So I guess, "get the shocks down" is a colloquial and hip way of saying "start with defibrillation (as soon as possible)"
    Alternatively - considering the statement '360 Joules' - it could mean "lower the shock intensity to 360 Joules"

    "Stack the shocks" might mean to apply several shocks in a row. But I'm not sure about that and certainly not sure whether that is a real medical practise!
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Get the shocks down? It's scriptwriters' verbal diarrhoea.

    Real life? One shock - check the result - one shock - check the result - increase the charge - one shock - check the result - etc.

    Several shocks in a row? Kill the person doing the CPR!
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Several shocks in a row? Kill the person doing the CPR!
    :D I kinda thought so. Since a single shock can restart a heart, it can also put a working heart into fibrillation and therefore shocking without checking the result seems rather nonsensical.
    But well, that's not a guarantee that the scriptwriters really wanted to say something different with "stack the shocks". Movies are rarely a reliable source of information when it comes to the finer details of medicine, technology, etc.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Movies are rarely a reliable source of information when it comes to the finer details of medicine, technology, etc.
    But they are a reliable source of bizarre and meaningless dialogues which cause people trying to learn English to post questions here. :)
     

    manfy

    Senior Member
    German - Austria
    Just for the record, it seems that 'stacked defibrillation' is - or at least, it used to be - an accepted practise in some emergency cases <source>:
    Resuscitation guidelines have previously called for up to three successive or “stacked” shocks with minimal time delays between defibrillation attempts. The use of stacked shocks, however, can result in prolonged interruptions of chest compressions that can contribute to poor patient outcomes.

    That means that the scriptwriters' consultants were at least in some way familiar with actual medical procedures.

    I watched this part of the movie this morning and can confirm that the actress really said "get the shocks down."
    However, since this was a hectic scene with multiple actors and some medical jargon, I'm starting to suspect that she remembered here line wrongly. The script probably said "Prep the defibrillator and get the shocks done!" in the sense of "Hurry up! Don't waste time."
    The director either didn't notice or just couldn't be bothered to shoot that scene multiple times, after all people were supposed to focus on the alien and not this kind of side action. :)
     
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