People of all ages learning CPR from doctor

Know CPR Basics—Save a Life

June 1–7 is National CPR & AED Awareness Week, a week designed to bring awareness to how easy hands-only CPR can be and how monumental learning CPR or how to use an AED can be in saving a person’s life.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 320,000 people in the U.S. suffer from cardiac arrest each year, with fewer than 11 percent of those people surviving before they reach a hospital.

Yet, if CPR is performed immediately, the chance of survival can double or triple. The number of people trained to provide CPR can help increase bystander response rates in cardiac emergencies, potentially increasing the survival rate.

Most Americans (70 percent) feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR or they’re afraid of doing more harm than good. The good news is that it only takes two steps: calling 9-1-1 and administering hands-only CPR.

It’s as easy as remembering the beat to “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees. People tend to feel more confident performing hands-only CPR when they are trained to the beat of a familiar song, and “Stayin’ Alive” is a perfect match for the 100 compressions per minute that are recommended by the AHA.

If you feel more comfortable learning in a classroom setting, or maybe need to complete a course for your workplace, Texas Health Resources offers CPR classes at several locations monthly. The classes are even split up into concentrations, like how to provide CPR for an infant or child, how to use an AED, and how to provide Basic Life Support (BLS). Certifications are typically good for a two-year period, but you can take refresher courses as needed before your certification expires.

Even if you don’t work in a health or child care setting, learning CPR can be valuable. Some benefits include:

 

Empowering

Knowing CPR empowers you to help someone in need instead of becoming a bystander. This is especially true if young children are under your care. For Aline Fagundes, the value of knowing CPR hit home soon after the release of one of her newborns from the hospital. Just days after bringing home her daughter Laura, the infant was found not breathing in her crib with vomit on her side as a result of severe reflux. While her husband called 911, Aline performed baby CPR. Laura was responsive even before medical personnel could arrive. Aline attributes the successful outcome in large part to the life-saving procedure she learned through Texas Health Dallas’s Baby Safety CPR program.

 

Lifesaving

Life is unpredictable, and you never know when you may be in a situation where someone has stopped breathing or their heart has stopped. Former Dallas Stars player Rich Peverley knows that all too well. During a game at American Airlines Center on March 10, 2012, Peverley collapsed on the bench and required immediate medical attention. The forward, who suffers from a pre-existing heart condition known as an irregular heartbeat, was rushed into the tunnel to receive oxygen, an IV, CPR and electrical stimulation via a defibrillator. The defibrillator was needed to bring a rhythm back to his heart. Peverley quickly regained consciousness under a doctor’s care and was transported to a local hospital for further treatment.

 

Assisting

It is always better to have multiple people who are CPR-certified in a crisis, since one person could tire before medical assistance arrives.

“The Peverley and Fagundes cases are two great examples of why CPR and defibrillation are two important techniques to have in your arsenal,” according to Nina Asrani, M.D., a cardiologist and physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. She also practices at Consultants in Cardiology Fort Worth, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. “And the good news is, CPR is a basic skill that anyone can learn, and portable Automated External Defibrillators―or AEDs―are designed to be used without previous medical training. You don’t have to be a medical expert to save a life and be in the right place at the right time.”

 

Working

Knowing CPR or how to use an AED can give you a leg up in the workplace. Many jobs require CPR certification, and others look favorably upon it. Formal first aid training and certification are especially impressive resume additions for those going into fields that require watching over others, like lifeguards, childcare or personal trainers. Even retail salespeople, wait staff and hospitality staff become more attractive when employees when they know lifesaving techniques.

It’s not just about being properly qualified to help someone if they’re hurt, either. The decision to go through with learning such an important skill and pursue a certification shows potential employers that you’re someone dedicated, serious and reliable—someone who holds him- or herself to high personal standards.

 

Learn the Basics—Save a Life

First aid and CPR can be essential no matter what setting you’re in—whether you’re in the office, out with friends or at home. Understanding what it takes to be prepared for an emergency can help you provide critical assistance to a person affected by cardiac arrest or another type of major injury, and with your help, you could make a life-saving difference for the individual.

To learn more about CPR classes and other educational events held at a Texas Health Resources hospital near you, click here or call 1-877-THR-WELL for more information.

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