Immediate CPR Saves Lives

immediate cpr

Recently I wrote a response to what I think about the controversy regarding performing CPR.  I expressed concern about how some of the negative press about whether or not CPR is always the right thing to do may cause some people to hesitate about performing CPR.  To further show why I think action is better than inaction, I want to share a couple stories I saw just in the last week that show how quick action and immediate CPR can save a life. 

The first took place last week in NY at a park where a 21-year-old male was playing basketball with his father.  In the middle of their game the younger man collapsed.  Some bystanders recognized what was happening as sudden cardiac arrest and called 911 while some of them began performing CPR.  Soon police arrived and continued CPR and also administered shocks with their automated external defibrillator (AED).  Around four minutes after the call was made, paramedics arrived on the scene and took over.  The man was soon stabilized and then brought to the hospital for further care.  This whole scenario is about as perfect as a case of sudden cardiac arrest gets.  Instead of standing around and waiting for paramedics to arrive, bystanders did not hesitate to do what they could to help.  Although the paramedics were able to give advanced care, that four minutes before they arrived were critical to the man’s survival and the CPR and AED treatment he received during that time was the best that could be done.

Over in Jacksonville, NC near Marine base camp Lejeune, Sgt. David Rogers and his wife Anastasia were out shopping when they heard a loud thud nearby.  They saw one of the employees where they were shopping had just collapsed and was lying completely still on the floor.  Most of the other people stood in shock, but David and Anastasia rushed to the employee’s side and found that he had suffered cardiac arrest.  While someone called 911, David and Anastasia began a joint effort CPR with her doing rescue breathing and David performing chest compressions.  By the time the paramedics arrived the victim’s pulse had returned.

What both of these stories have in common that many cases of cardiac arrest don’t is that when the paramedics arrived on the scene the victim had already received CPR.  Unfortunately, many times this is not the case, but for the victim’s in these two stories immediate CPR was a huge part of their survival.

I’m not sure what qualifications the bystanders in the first story had, but in the other one, both David and Anastasia had received training and were certified to perform CPR.  To perform chest compressions (AHA recommends chest compression only CPR) you do not have to be certified and can learn through many resources, but is still highly recommended.  It can be shocking to see someone suddenly collapse with no heartbeat and someone who has been certified to perform CPR is more likely to have an instinctual reaction to jump and help.  The main point is that every minute after someone has a cardiac arrest is invaluable and although CPR is not 100% effective it can nearly double the chance of survival and will always help more than doing nothing.

Post by Chris Nelson, AED.com

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