Your response should depend on your training
Quick thinking and staying calm: They’re often the two keys to providing effective help in emergency medical situations.
As students in Salter’s professional medical assistant training program know, using CPR -- which stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation -- can save a person’s life if they suffer a heart attack or experience another situation in which their breathing or heartbeat has stopped. In fact, one of Salter’s former students was recognized by the town of New Bedford after using her training to help a heart attack victim at a restaurant in 2013.
However, even if you haven’t received CPR training yet, it’s important to remember this advice from the American Heart Association (AMA): Bad CPR is better than no CPR.
Better odds of survival
The AMA states “On average, any attempt to provide CPR to a victim is better than no attempt to provide help.” That’s because the sooner CPR is started, the greater chance that the victim will survive the incident.
CPR can keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs. If a person’s heart stops, oxygenated blood is unable to get to the brain and brain damage could occur within minutes. Death may occur within eight to 10 minutes.
What to do
While a properly trained medical professional can perform more effective CPR, bystanders to an incident can begin chest compressions until help arrives. If you have not had CPR training, the AMA recommends performing “hands only” CPR – that is, CPR without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Remember, the AMA states that you are very unlikely to hurt someone by doing CPR, so don’t hesitate.
No matter what your level of training, the first step is always to direct someone to call 9-1-1.
Then, the AMA urges people to use the C-A-B method to remember the order CPR steps.
- Compression. Put the person on his or her back. Kneel next to the person’s chest or shoulders. Place the heel of hand in the center of the person’s chest and place the other hand on top of the first hand. Keeping your arms straight and using your upper-body strength, press down at least two inches. Try do this about 100 times per minute until help arrives or the person begins moving. (The AMA has a great video about how to do this.)
- Airway. If you’ve had some training in CPR, check the person’s airway for obstructions after you’ve completed about 30 compressions. Spend no more than 5-10 seconds checking for signs of breathing.
- Breathe. If you’ve been trained to do so properly, perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if needed.
Remember, you could be the difference between life and death. As the AMA states, it’s better to try than to do nothing.
Interested in getting more training on CPR and other medical procedures? Request info about Salter’s professional medical assistant training program.