Essay by: ISP090
The importance of learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is not recognized by many, especially those that are not in healthcare related professions. Parents do not like to think of their children in situations where they might need to know CPR; therefore, many refuse to acknowledge the fact that knowing CPR is one of the most important skills they could easily acquire. It is equally as important with adults as well. If a person goes into cardiac arrest, their survival depends significantly on whether or not they receive immediate CPR. When taking the class to become CPR certified, the training also teaches what to do to help a person who is choking by teaching abdominal thrusts for adults and back blows for infants. Usually, if an infant or toddler starts choking on something the initial reaction by a parent is to put fingers in their mouth attempting to take out whatever it is that is in there. That is usually followed by a few hits on the back of the child while the child is sitting up. Both of those actions are contraindicated and that knowledge is attained during said training.
To stress how important training really is, I will share a true personal story. On the evening of June 5, 2014, I was driving home from the store. To the left I see that a car came to a sudden halt. I glanced over again and saw three women who seemed hysterical, run out of the car and open the rear passenger door. They pull out a baby and started putting their fingers in his mouth, pounding in his back and chest, all while screaming for help. I immediately knew that the baby was choking. I cut across oncoming traffic while honking and ran to the women. I say to them “I am CPR certified, I am a student nurse, can I help?!” They immediately hand over the baby while screaming “help my baby, please help my baby.” I see he cannot breathe nor is he coughing but he was still conscious. I asked them to call 911, I laid the baby face down on my arm, tilted him downward and started back blows. First blow (hit), no screams; second blow, no change; third blow, the baby starts screaming and crying. The baby regains the ability to breathe and there was no need to start CPR. The women, who turned out to be the mother, grandmother and aunt were so thankful. The baby was responding normally but was very frightened. I stayed with the family until the ambulance arrived.
During the wait I talked to them about how important it is to know CPR. They were in awe of what I had just done for their baby boy named Christopher. I explained to them that what I did was merely use the training I had received and that they too could have the same training. They all promised that they were going to get CPR training as soon as possible. They realized that if I had not passed by at that exact moment, things could have ended a lot differently for Christopher. They thanked me for “saving their baby’s life” and I was so happy I was able to help. Incidences similar to that of Christopher’s are not uncommon.
Choking is among many other incidences, including atrial fibrillation, trauma, and drowning that could lead to cardiac arrest. According to the American Heart Association, “70 percent of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has significantly lapsed. This alarming statistic could hit close to home, because home is exactly where 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur. Put very simply: The life you save with CPR is mostly likely to be someone you love.” (http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/)
In closing, is it important for people that are not healthcare professionals to know CPR? Absolutely. In the case of Christopher, he did not need chest compressions but he very well could have. Christopher’s mother realized how important it was to have the training and I am glad I was able to enlighten her on the matter. Thanks to the training I received I was able to save a baby’s life.