No CPR Certification Required to Save a Life
New Criteria for CPR
The new CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a wonderful life saving technique for sudden death and now much easier to accomplish than the using the older criteria.
I taught CPR classes for many years, and as an instructor I noticed the biggest problem for trainees was positioning the head properly so the air actually went into the lungs. Now the new guidelines eliminate the initial breaths, as there is enough oxygen in the blood to do chest compression for about 10 minutes.
If blood is not pumped using chest compressions, the person will probably have some brain damage, even if the ambulance arrives after 8 or 10 minutes and revives the individual.
CPR is useful in many different type types of sudden death emergencies, such as heart attacks, near drowning; strokes, over doses, trauma victims and so forth. You may find someone not breathing, with NO pulse and not know the reason.
There are a myriad of reasons a person might lose consciousness, so what do you do if you find someone unconscious or see someone lose consciousness and fall to the floor. You do not have to be certified to follow this procedure.
BEE GEES Staying Alive
Heart Attack Victim
CPR Steps for the Untrained Individual
- First: Gently shake their shoulder to try to arouse them and calling their name if you know it. You do not want to be doing chest compressions on a live person that might be passed out from too much alcohol or having a very high blood sugar. Put your ear by their mouth to see if they are breathing.
- Second: Have someone call 911 immediately. If you are alone, call yourself before proceeding.
- Third: If they are not breathing; check for their pulse.
The strongest pulse and easiest one to find is in the carotid artery in the throat. Put one finger on the person’s Adam’s apple. Typically you use your first 2 fingers and place them on the Adam’s apple, then slide them either direction about 1” where you should find a pulse if their heart is beating.
- Fourth: If there is no pulse, begin chest compression at 100 times per minutes. The person must be on a flat hard surface, preferable the floor.
- Procedure: You kneel down by the patient and put one hand on top of the other keeping your arms straight. Place them on the lower third of the sternum which is right on top of their heart. Try to hold your finger tips up, and use the palm of your hands to compress firmly (about 2") but rapidly to get 100 compressions per minute, which is the most effective rate. It is the same rhythm as the beat of the BeeGee’s song “Staying Alive”. If you listened to the music you can see how that rhythm would be perfect to keep your compressions fast enough.
You use the weight of your body to help with the compression. Now, for you muscular guys, don’t go overboard as you are a bit stronger than the average person and fractured ribs are a common side effect of CPR. However, ALIVE with a couple of broken ribs is better than dead. Stop after the first couple of minutes to see if their pulse has been restored. If not, resume compression.
Patient in Amlulance
If someone else is with you, taking turns is fine until the ambulance arrives. Believe me, doing CPR is hard work. I have preformed CPR several times since I worked in Critical Care in the hospital for years, and a nurse had to go to anywhere in the hospital for a patient coding. Codes could go on for a long time in the hospital as they try defibrillation and try any drug that might help.
If the person starts to regain consciousness stop CPR immediately, monitor the person closely and check their pulse as they may not remain conscious. Do not move them or let them get up, as they may have sustained a neck or back injury if they fell. Wait for the ambulance.
You can do CPR on anyone older than 8 years old. Obviously you would use less pressure with your compressions on a child. The procedure is different for younger children and babies.
Continuous Chest Compression CPR - Mayo Clinic Presentation
American Red Cross Statistics
The American Red Cross provides some statistics dated April 26, 2010. You can check their excellent website, so I will just cover a few basic statistics.
- EMS handles about 300,000 victims of out-of-hospital annually.
- Outside of the hospital less than 8% of these will survive.
- Sudden cardiac death and heart attacks is not the same thing.
- Sudden cardiac death can happen to anyone, any age, at any time and many appear perfectly healthy before the event.
- LESS than one third of out-of-hospital people receive CPR.
- WE CAN CHANGE THAT!
- Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden death can DOUBLE or TRIPLE a victim’s chance of survival.
- About 5,800 children under the age of 18 years old suffer cardiac arrest annually
CPR Training Summary
I would encourage anyone to get CPR training. The way you handle a baby is completely different then a child, and you must have a CPR certificate to perform CPR on babies or children. It is not hard to learn, and children as young as 9 have been taught. The CPR class takes about a half a day. The American Red Cross CPR and the American Heart Association have classes and so do many schools and hospitals.
However, if you don’t have time or don’t want to get the CPR training you can still save a live by following the steps I’ve written. Please don’t be a spectator and just assume the ambulance will come in time or that someone else will step up to the plate.
The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.