Conclusion: Modern Living/Modern Dying

  • John Anthony Tercier
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)


The climax of the film Bringing Out the Dead is the paramedic protagonist’s performance of CPR on Noel, the filthy, crazy, disease-ridden ‘dirtball’, the lowest common denominator of humanity. Prior to this scene, the film had documented Frank’s downward spiral into alcoholism and psychosis, occasioned by a fatal error he made in treating a young female asthmatic. Significantly, the girl’s death was due to Frank’s insistence on performing and then failing to accomplish a technical airway manoeuvre: intubation, when mouth-to-mouth would have sufficed. The dead girl haunts Frank. The scene in which he administers mouth-to-mouth to Noel marks the turning point of the film and Frank’s ascent back into the realm of the human. Following this scene, Frank stops drinking and hallucinating, and he begins to sort out his troubled relationship with his girlfriend. Through the heroic act of performing mouth-to-mouth on Noel and by exposing himself to danger Frank sacrifices himself, performing a kind of penance and receiving absolution for his failure to provide the ‘kiss-of-life’ to the asthmatic girl. Through an act of transgression, he is saved, becoming both priest and sacrifice, redeemer and redeemed.


Catheter Depression Epinephrine Tate Dition 


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© John Anthony Tercier 2005

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  • John Anthony Tercier

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