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October 21, 2013

Who is Resusci Anne?

Annie 4We’ve all seen her, and many of us have learned our lifesaving CPR skills on her. Now, this may be a familiar story for long-time CPR instructors, but for our newer readership, you might ask who was the inspiration for that pleasant, yet enigmatic face on the Laerdal Resusci Anne manikin?

BBC News Magazine published an interesting article this week giving some backstory on the famous face.

It would seem that “Anne” came from the face of a French girl, found drowned in the Seine in Paris in the 19th century. The mouleurs (model-makers) were asked by a pathologist at the Paris mortuary to make a cast of the victim’s face, and it quickly became the mask-and-bust studio’s best-seller.

This little mask of the intriguing mystery girl has become fodder for poems, novels, and stories ever since, but the best use to which it was put came in the mid-1950s, when toymaker Asmund Laerdal used it for his first CPR manikin.

Snopes.com also weighs in on the story in their refutation of an urban legend about the origin of Resusci Anne’s peaceful visage. This often-repeated version credits Dr. Peter Safar, one of the creators of CPR, with modeling Anne after his own daughter, lost in a drowning accident.

Not quite, says Snopes. While Dr. Safar did unfortunately lose an 11-year-old daughter, it was not by drowning nor did he himself create a manikin. Our thanks instead must go to Laerdal for the creation that life-like manikin for CPR training still widely used today. 

Our CPR manikin-savvy readers might guess that “mouleurs” and “moulage” have a connection. Moulage, the art of creating those kind of gross but really cool artificial bruises, cuts, and abrasions that make emergency care training come to life, is taking center stage in two workshops at our 2013 HSI International Conference. 

The artists of Lifeline Training Center are offering a 2- or 4-hour moulage workshop on Friday, November 1 at Evolution Through Innovation in San Antonio. And there are still some spots available!

Register for the conference today and get in on the icky fun of making your emergency classes unforgettable for your students.

While you are at the conference, be sure to come by the Exhibit Hall and check out our display of emergency care artifacts, including an original Resusci Anne.

Conference 2013

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