Photo from hcdps.com
Went for a Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and AED class today. And a question that came to mind right after I’d signed up for the class was “Would you save your enemy if the person had a cardiac arrest and collapsed in front of you?” In all honesty, that question stumped me, and I hope I don’t ever find myself in such a situation. ‘Cos those moments of deliberation could literally make the difference between life OR death for someone.
So, I’d love to pose the same question to YOU: Would you save your worst enemy? You know… the one who’s a thorn in your side, who makes your life miserable, and whom you wish would just disappear from the face of the earth? Yeah. That one. If you are the only one around who knows CPR, and that person collapses in front of you due to a cardiac arrest, would you save him/her?
Did you know that if no one does anything, and everyone waits till an ambulance arrives, only 1 in 30 would survive a cardiac arrest. Not very good odds of survival at all.
Ok, perhaps that first question is not quite fair. When I’m angry at someone, I might say there’s no way I’d ever save the person from certain death. But when placed in such a situation, I just might put the enmity aside and try to save the fella immediately. I may regret it later, but what the hell, saving a life is more important than petty differences, right?
Now, here’s a question that’s easier to answer: Would you save a loved one if you know CPR?
Do I hear a resounding “YES”? Good!
In Singapore, about 1,800 cardiac arrests occur every year. Only about three per cent of these patients survive the cardiac arrest compared to 20 per cent survival rates in Tokyo or Seoul, according to a Channel NewsAsia report yesterday.
And I believe more people can be saved if more of us know how to perform CPR. And in case you are wondering, after all those channel 8 dramas you have watched, that CPR involves mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, there is simplified CPR which only involves chest compressions.
And there is now a credit card-sized device* which can aid responders by indicating whether the rate of compression is good or too fast or slow. It can also tell if the compressions are of the right depth. Yes, sometimes applying too much pressure can lead to cracked / fractured ribs.
But as our trainer shared, which is better – broken ribs or death? Doctors can help fix broken ribs but they cannot do anything to reverse death. *wink*
(*The device is still in its trial phases, and yes I do own one, but hope I don’t ever have to use it)
And when it comes to the AED – the Automated External Defibrillator – which sends a controlled electric shock to the patient’s heart, it’s a lot less work as compared to chest compressions which can get pretty tiring very quickly especially if you’re not using your body weight correctly to assist you.
Do look out for those AED devices in community centres, schools, shopping malls, the airport, etc, so that you can be of assistance by fetching these devices even if you are unable to perform CPR.
And in the event of an emergency, please don’t take photos or videos with your phone. Use it to call 995 and get an ambulance instead. And, if possible, try not to hang up untill the ambulance arrives. Switch your phone to speaker mode and allow the dispatcher to communicate with the responder to keep tabs on the situation.
If you are trained in CPR, there’s also a free ‘myResponder’ app which you can download. Besides alerting you of cases requiring your assistance, it can also show you where the nearest AED is located. 🙂
If there’s no one in your family who is trained in CPR, well, you might want to go for a 2-hour or 4-hour lesson. I have no doubt that you will want to save your loved ones if they collapse due to cardiac arrest. They have just a 3% chance of survival if you are not equipped with the knowledge and skills to revive them! So… don’t wait.