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How a Captain Morgan Advertisement Inspired an Emergency Room Technique

Captain Morgan, hip fixer

(Kiks Balayon (Flickr/Creative Commons))
smithsonian.com

Many ideas have come from the bottom of a bottle of booze. But most of those ideas aren't useful medical techniques. The exception comes from picture of a lusty pirate with his foot on a barrel. That’s right, reports Kate Horowitz for mental_floss: A drawing of rum-shilling Captain Morgan inspired a new emergency room technique that is helping dislocated hips.

Hip dislocations have long been dealt with the old-fashioned way, writes Horowitz: Inside the emergency room, doctors simply shove the hip back into its socket. It’s an agonizing procedure, and one that hasn’t changed in years. Normally, doctors use a move called the Allis Maneuver — the patient lays on a gurney, the doctor straddles the patient, and in goes the hip.

But all that changed when emergency medicine professor Gregory Hendey watched an ad for Captain Morgan rum. What if, he wondered, a doctor didn’t straddle patients at all? By putting a knee beneath the raised knee of a person imitating the Captain and pushing, it turns out hips can be popped back into place without the need to crawl onto the gurney.

In 77 interventions using the pirate-inspired technique, only one failed. In a publication in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, Hendey calls “the Captain Morgan technique” both interesting and novel — and calls for it to be used as a primary tool in relocating hips in the ER.

But the Captain’s favorite drink already has a vaunted place in medical history. Rum was used as a medical remedy for years, and even was widely used as an anesthetic during surgery in the 1700s.

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