Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR is an emergency lifesaving procedure performed when the heart stops beating. Immediate CPR can double or triple chances of survival after cardiac arrest. CPR helps maintain a vital flow of blood to the brain and heart.
Studies show that if CPR is used out of the hospital during an emergency the chances of surviving are greatly increased. Keeping your blood flow active, even partially will extend the opportunity for a successful resuscitation once a trained medical person arrives. More than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States per year, out of which 70% happen inside homes. Ninety percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest die prior to reaching a hospital or medical care facility.
Cardiac problems are not uncommon medical emergencies. Cardiac problems can occur at any time and place. Even someone that appears healthy can suffer cardiac arrest or a similar condition. It’s helpful for not only you but also others around you to learn CPR. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, about 18% of people age 65 and over that received CPR before they got to the hospital survived and were discharged.
When you should use CPR
Allergic reactions of severe nature
When you see something has gone wrong this is what The American Red Cross recommends.
Check the scene and the person. Make sure the scene is safe, then tap the person on the shoulder and shout, “Are you OK?” to ensure that the person needs help.
Call 911 for assistance. If it’s evident that the person needs help, call (or ask a bystander to call) 911, then send someone to get an AED. (If an AED is unavailable, or a there is no bystander to access it, stay with the victim, call 911 and begin administering assistance.)
Open the airway. With the person lying on his or her back, tilt the head back slightly to lift the chin.
Check for breathing. Listen carefully, for no more than 10 seconds, for sounds of breathing. (Occasional gasping sounds do not equate to breathing.) If there is no breathing, begin CPR.
Push hard, push fast. Place your hands, one on top of the other, in the middle of the chest. Use your body weight to help you administer compressions that are at least two inches deep and delivered at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute.There are a few mistakes people make when doing CPR. The most common mistakes committed when performing CPR are not giving deep enough compressions, as well as giving too slow or fast compressions. Even health care professionals fail in the process because they either don’t push fast or deep enough.
Once you begin CPR, do not stop except in one of these situations:
Obvious death. When you witness cardiac arrest, starting CPR immediately gives the victim the highest chance of survival.
Cold to the touch
Livor mortis (lividity)
Injuries not compatible with life
Advanced help arrives
You see an obvious sign of life, such as breathing
An AED is available and ready to use
Another trained responder or EMS personnel take over
You are too exhausted to continue
The scene becomes unsafe
It always comes up when someone helps someone in an emergency: “Can I be sued if I give some help?” According to The American Red Cross, most states have Good Samaritan laws. These laws give you legal protection when you provide emergency care to an ill or injured person.
When you respond to an emergency and you act in a reasonable and prudent manner, Good Samaritan immunity laws generally prevail. This legal immunity protects you as a rescuer from being sued and found financially responsible for the victim’s injury.
Examples of acting in a prudent and reasonable manner can include:
Not moving a victim unless they are in life-threatening situation
Getting permission from a conscious victim before giving care
Getting professional help as soon as you can
Provide reasonable care until a professional help arrives
Good Samaritan laws were developed to get people to help others in emergency situation. While Good Samaritan laws don’t mean you can’t be sued, courts rarely give judgments against a person giving reasonable and prudent care to an injured person.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the “Good Samaritan” laws in your state you should contact a legal professional, your local Red Cross or your local library.
Remember, more than of 70% Sudden Cardiac Arrests (SCA) occur at home or similar private settings. Ninety-five percent of SCA victims die prior to even reaching the hospital. Out of all these numbers, only 6% survive cardiac arrest. Getting trained and acquainted with the basics of CPR and learning how to perform CPR could help you save the life of a loved one.