James Otis Elam, (31 May 1918 – 10 July 1995) was a U.S. M.D. and respiratory researcher.
Based on his research at the Buffalo's Roswell Park Memorial Institute for understanding carbon dioxide absorption, he developed a prototype ventilator device that efficiently could absorb carbon dioxide during surgery, dubbed the Roswell Park ventilator. This was further developed into the Air-Shields Ventimeter ventilator that were used for a period of almost 50 years.
Elam contributed significantly to the development and understanding of modern rescue breathing, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and brought it to the attention of the medical community and the general public. In 1954, Elam was the first to demonstrate experimentally that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was a sound technique, and together with Dr. Peter Safar he demonstrated its superiority to previous methods.
Elam wrote the instructional booklet Rescue Breathing, which was distributed throughout the U.S. in 1959. He later produced films demonstrating the life-saving technique and contributed with Peter Safar in the development of a mannequin called Resusci Anne, produced by Laerdal of Norway, that allowed the public to learn the technique in a safe manner.
Elam received his medical doctorate from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1945. For his achievements in emergency medicine, Elam received a United States Army Certificate of Achievement, and in 1962, the Albert O. Bernstein Award, the Medical Society of the state of New York's highest honor.