CPR can be Lifesaving
It's your worst nightmare - lightening strikes someone in your group of friends enjoying a summer outing, and one of them is knocked out, is not breathing, and does not seem to have a pulse. Or your uncle, who has a heart condition, is running after the dog, clutches his chest and falls to the ground unresponsive. What do you do? Can you help them? Or is the only help at the end of 911?
The answer is CPR - Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. This simple technique, of compressing the chest to keep the victim's blood pumping when their heart suddenly stops, can significantly increase the chance of that person surviving. You can be the crucial link in the chain of survival that keeps blood flowing until emergency medical personnel get to the scene.
CPR can be lifesaving, and the more of us who know the technique the better the chance is that when someone needs CPR there will be someone immediately present who can provide it. CPR can be learned easily, and is appropriate for everyone and anyone to learn. Those members of the public in particular who should learn it are parents of new babies, babysitters and other child care providers, family members of patients with heart conditions, people who spend a lot of time hiking / in the out of doors, people who work in areas where there are large numbers of the public coming through (eg: large stores, parks, etc.)
CPR skills can be learned readily by anyone interested. There are specific techniques for adults, children, and infants, and which training someone gets should be determined by which age group the person is taking care of. New parents should get infant CPR training. The spouse of an elderly heart patient should get adult CPR training.
CPR courses are most frequently taught in communities via the American Red Cross chapter, but there are often other groups which also teach these skills. In the Bangor area those interested in getting CPR training should call Patrick Walsh at the American Red Cross, 941-2903.
CPR is a great skill for anyone to have. It is not high tech / hard to learn, and the more of us there are who have it the safer we all are. It can save lives, and be just the care needed when a heart suddenly stops.
Dr. Erik Steele, DO