Sunday, June 3, 2018

Important: Bystander CPR

IMPORTANT: My kids and I all got bystander CPR lessons at the Tarrytown street fair today. The EMT who trained me said that, sadly, he has never come to a call with a cardiac arrest case and found a bystander attempting CPR. NEVER. Yet even an inept attempt could increase the person's survival chances from 10% (without CPR) to 50% (with CPR).

They've really simplified CPR now. Things that have been eliminated:
- rescue breathing -- hence you don't have to worry about their germs or their vomiting in your mouth
- tilting the head back

- checking for pulse
 putting glasses in front of the person's nose to check for breathing (instead you only look visually to see if the chest is rising and falling)

So the sequence is:
1. You see someone is down & seems non-responsive

2. You call 911 and you say you see someone down and you're going to start CPR. You give the location

3. You tap their shoulder and see if they will respond

4. if no, check to see if their chest or stomach is rising and falling

5. if no to 3 & 4, you start chest compressions. You do them 100/minute without stopping until the ambulance arrives. The correct timing is illustrated by the beat in the famous popular song "Staying Alive," which they played for us to help us see how fast to do this.

If you get tired and if someone else is around, you ask for their help. 

Again:no rescue breathing. The compressions cause the lungs to exhale and inhale.

If you start chest compressions promptly, in case of cardiac arrest, the individual will have a 50% chance of survival. If you just leave the person lying there, they have only a 10% chance of survival, by the time the ambulance comes.

They said that you can't hurt the heart by giving them chest compressions when their heart is still breathing. The heart adjusts.

Good Samaritan laws (at least in NY) protect you in case you injure someone. You don't have to worry about breaking their ribs, because that will heal, whereas the brain injuries from lack of oxygen will not.