CPR in Entertainment: Jurassic Park

by Paul Martin -

In our latest column about CPR in Entertainment, we’re going to take a look at a scene in Jurassic Park.  In the scene, there is a 10,000 volt fence that young Timmy is on, when the fence is re-energized.  He is shocked and flies off of the fence.  Dr. Grant catches him and immediately begins CPR.

I did a little bit of research into this scene, as it always seemed weird to me that he flew off of the fence and that the shock didn’t kill him instantly.  I chalked it up to just being a little bit of movie magic. However, I was surprised to learn there was a good explanation.

I did, however, find this explanation from an electrician, which I am editing for clarity:

Being an electrician myself, this scene is perfectly fine. Earth is a vital thing you need to be shocked, but not the only thing. What gives you the shock is the current passing through your body onto something else that isn’t the same item.

For example, if you grab hold of a power line, with your feet off the floor, nothing will happen. This is because the current flows through you and you feel nothing. If however you grab a second line, you will be shocked, as the electricity will effectively jump through your body, giving you a shock.

The reason there is an earth wire in all cables (bar self-earthing cables) is to prevent the item that is wired up becoming live if there are any problems. This is why everyone assumes you have to be earthed to be shocked. Birds sit on wires because they are only on one..If they spread there legs to a second wire, bye bye bird. Also about the contracting muscles, this is only with DC. If the line is AC, it throws you from the appliance. (via)

The CPR that Dr. Grant performs is successful and Timmy slowly recovers.

CPR in Entertainment is a series based on rescue scenes found in both TV shows and movies. If you have a suggestion for a future entry, please comment below!

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