Radford University in Radford, VA has a volunteer Emergency Medical Services Team made up of a number of students. The team operates 24/7 from a location on campus and primarily responds to on campus calls. The Department runs about 350 calls annually.
However, on January 18, 2012 the volunteer student team received a call that was a few blocks off campus at a dialysis center. Three of the student volunteers responded to the call, and in doing so, saved the life of patient at the dialysis center.
The Radford University EMS has a fully equipped vehicle which has an AED as well as other medical emergency resources. The RUEMS vehicle had the Zoll AED Plus, which is an excellent automatic AED that the students used on the patient. After placing the electrodes (pads) on the patient’s chest, the AED determined that a shock was required, and it delivered the life saving shock. From the time the student volunteers received the call to the time the AED delivered the shock, less than 5 minutes elapsed. This is a critical piece of information. A victim of sudden cardiac arrest has only about 5-7 minutes for an AED to be used. If one is not available and accessible within that time frame, the victim will probably not survive. Early defibrillation is critical because ventricular fibrillation is the most common initial dysrhythmia of sudden cardiac arrest. Defibrillation is the only treatment, and survival from ventricular fibrillation is determined by reaching and treating the patient with an AED within 5 minutes of their collapse.
The students who responded to this call said it was first time they had used an AED in a real medical emergency. They had all received CPR and AED Training, and when the call came, they went into automatic pilot, doing what they had been trained to do when treating a victim of sudden cardiac arrest. They said they didn’t think about what was happening in terms other than there was a medical emergency and their training guided them through the steps in order to perform CPR and use the AED. These students have received basic training in CPR and AED use, and now have passed an important milestone in reaching and treating a victim of sudden cardiac arrest within 5 minutes.
Anyone can learn the basics of CPR and AED use, and the more people that have this basic knowledge, the better. Bystanders can and should step in when someone collapses. If the victim is not breathing, someone should call 911, and CPR and chest compressions should begin immediately. Below is the American Heart Associations CPR Guidelines. If you are a bystander and have not received formal CPR training, you can still perform the basic steps through # 4. If you have received CPR training, you can continue with steps 5 – 7.
The American Heart Association’s CPR Guidelines
How to Do the New CPR
Here is a step-by-step guide for the new CPR:
1. Call 911 or ask someone else to do so.
2. Try to get the person to respond; if he doesn’t, roll the person on his or her back.
3. Start chest compressions. Place the heel of your hand on the center of the victim’s chest. Put your other hand on top of the first with your fingers interlaced.
4. Press down so you compress the chest at least 2 inches in adults and children and 1.5 inches in infants. ”One hundred times a minute or even a little faster is optimal,” Sayre says. (That’s about the same rhythm as the beat of the Bee Gee’s song “Stayin’ Alive.”)
5. If you’re been trained in CPR, you can now open the airway with a head tilt and chin lift.
6. Pinch closed the nose of the victim. Take a normal breath, cover the victim’s mouth with yours to create an airtight seal, and then give two, one-second breaths as you watch for the chest to rise.
7. Continue compressions and breaths — 30 compressions, two breaths — until help arrives.
The volunteer students at Radford University passed a very important test in responding to the call and getting there within the 5 minute timeframe to perform CPR and use the AED. The story was reported on the local Covington, VA channel 7 news.