It was the 4th of July, the day we celebrate Independence in the United States. One of many families was celebrating the holiday at a local park and ball field. Their picnic barbecue seemed the picture of perfection, with children and friends laughing and enjoying the beautiful weather. Little did they know that this would end suddenly, as a 45-year-old husband and father would suffer a sudden cardiac arrest.
With no history of heart problems or warning, he just dropped.
Believe it or not, this story, unlike so many, would have a happy ending. As luck would have it, a friend close by was CPR trained. He was able to recognize the signs and perform life sustain CPR until local paramedics could arrive and administer treatment. Miraculously, this man lived, and it’s because those closest to him were prepared in the case of an emergency.
As a Utah State Certified Paramedic, I was witness to this event and many more similar. This particular story stands out in my mind because, sadly, most cardiac arrests don’t have such happy endings. It was this experience,amongst others, that inspired me to become a CPR instructor.
• EMS (emergency medical services) treat nearly 300,000 victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year in the United States.
• Less than 8% of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive.
• Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.
• Less than 1/3 of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR.
• Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. Many victims appear healthy with no known heart disease or other risk factors.
• About 5,800 children 18-years-old and under suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year from all causes – including trauma, cardiovascular causes and sudden infant death syndrome.
(Statistics taken from the American Heart Association.)
What is CPR?
For those of you who don’t know what CPR is, let me tell you a little bit about it. CPR stands for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. CPR, if performed properly, provides oxygen to the brain and vital organs, necessary for life. When a heart stops beating, the body does not receive oxygen or expel co2. Irreversible damage begins with 4-6 minutes, and as minutes pass, the chance of successful resuscitation diminishes rapidly. CPR effectively forces a non-functioning heart to continue movement. It helps to circulate blood through the body, buying the victim time for advanced care to arrive, including the use of an AED or automatic external defibrillator. A defibrillator is a device that you may have seen around. Its purpose is to shock an erratic heartbeat back into a normal functioning rhythm.
How Can I Learn CPR?
At this point you might be asking yourself does this apply to me?
Should I look into this further?
Is it worth my time?
Can I even help?
The answer is YES! Studies by the American Heart Association have shown that children as young as 9-years-old can learn and retain CPR skills. If you have family, friends, children or anyone that you care about, you should know what to do and when (enough of the dramatics :))
If you’re interested in finding out more about CPR or taking a class, which I highly recommend, there are a number of opportunities available to you. If you’re in the State of Utah, you can contact me at ReliableCPR@gmail.com. I’ve been instructing for 5 years, and I’m happy to come teach you or a group! Now that I’ve got my personal plug in… As an American Heart Association instructor, I would first refer you to their web site for information, and I also recommend a look at the American Red Cross.
There are also a number o f online courses; however, I always recommend people to take a live class as practice on the mannequin is invaluable. If you have any question regarding CPR, First Aid or choking, please feel free to call or email me any time.
Stacie Grover PM