More CPR Training; More Lives Can Be Saved
December 22, 2016
Nearly 90% of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest have serious damage to their heart muscle and brain. Sadly, many of them even die because of the severe, unexpected nature of the event and the lack of training that most people have when it comes to life-saving measures. Sudden cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops beating, thus stopping blood flow to the brain and other vital organs. If not treated within mere minutes, sudden cardiac arrest can be fatal. But, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) can save someone from heart and/or brain damage as well as saving their life.
There are two major factors that can reduce the chances of death after a sudden cardiac arrest. These two factors are being trained in the use of an A.E.D., or automated external defibrillator and CPR. An A.E.D. is used to restart and shock the heart into a normal rhythm. With the combination of chest compressions, mouth-to-mouth ventilation and the use of an A.E.D., a person whose heart has stopped beating can be resuscitated and kept stable enough until emergency personnel arrive for hospital transport.
The reason that life-saving medical techniques are so important for regular, everyday individuals to know is because it can take multiple minutes for ambulances to arrive to the scene of an emergency. During a sudden cardiac arrest, every single minute matters. People suffer brain damage after only four minutes without oxygen. A few minutes after that, death becomes possible. Without the heart beating, oxygen stops traveling through a person’s bloodstream. But, when someone’s heart is shocked into a regular rhythm, there is a chance to oxygenate the blood, which helps to diminish the risk of brain and heart damage, as well as fatality.
Not enough people are trained in CPR and how to effectively use A.E.D.’s. Even police officers in New York City are not required to participate in CPR training programs. Although some know how to perform CPR, many do not. With ambulances taking an average of seven minutes to arrive on scene in the city, if police officers and ordinary citizens alike were trained, at least largely, on how to administer emergency first aid techniques, countless lives that currently are lost could instead be saved. International medical studies have been conducted, and they show that bystander CPR can decrease rates of brain damage in cardiac arrest sufferers by up to 30%. Even without the use of an A.E.D., when CPR alone is administered it nearly triples the likelihood of a person surviving. These statistics are staggering, and show just how many people could be helped if first responders and bystanders alike participate in educational and training programs. When you factor in that over two-thirds of sudden cardiac arrests happen in the home it becomes even easier to see how many people would be saved if mothers, sons, friends and mailmen were trained in CPR. The chance of having a loved one – or even a stranger – save your own life would be exponentially increased.
The great news is that it is not difficult to learn CPR. The American Heart Association (AHA) conducts in-person classes, but for those that cannot fit a class into their schedule, there are online instructional videos.
They teach people that there are two steps that can help towards saving someone’s life. The first is to call 9-1-1 and make sure to specify where the person is who is having a sudden cardiac arrest. The second is to begin pushing hard on the center of that person’s chest. The pushes need to be quick, mimicking a heart with 100 to 120 beats per minutes; or, as the AHA explains the goal speed, the pushes should be like the beat to the song “Stayin’ Alive”.
It is certainly true that more people across the board should learn how to administer CPR, use A.E.D.’s and learn ways that they can help, even as bystanders, when they see someone suffer a sudden cardiac arrest. Because the first few minutes matter so much and literally make the difference between life and death or permanent brain damage, the more people who become knowledgeable on how to help will only aid in increasing the number of people whose lives are saved. Even A.E.D.’s are considered “user-friendly”, meaning untrained people can use them. The device has voice prompts and written instructions built into it, so even without prior training they can be used effectively. With people becoming more knowledgeable on what they can do to help protect others and how to provide basic, first aid techniques, we can all help to keep each other safe and even, when the unexpected happens, help to save a life.
Our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers have successfully represented clients in a variety of different practice areas. If you or any of your loved ones have any questions or concerns, an attorney at Galfand Berger, LLP can help. With offices located in Philadelphia, Reading and Bethlehem, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.