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Essay by: ISP097   

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure used to restore breathing and blood flow through the body until emergency assistance can arrive. As a part of the basic life saving procedure (BLS), CPR can potentially save thousands of lives annually if ordinary people who are not healthcare workers will take the time to learn it and use it when needed. In the early months of 1995, while stationed aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, a young marine and his wife entertained house guests in their small base housing unit. During this festive event, all the couple’s that attended allowed their children to crawl around and play on the living room floor. Suddenly, the marine and his guests realized his son stopped playing and merely sat there while his lips turned blue. The baby boy was choking on a small piece of meat he grabbed off of a plate left on the coffee table by one of the guests. That morsel of food became lodged in the opening of the young boy’s trachea, preventing him from breathing. All present, watched as the one year old teetered between gagging and gasping for air. The child’s young mother picked him up and held him close as she called his name while others looked on stunned by this surreal moment. The young devil dog remembered the emergency CPR/BLS training that he received in boot camp and quickly sprung into action deploying by the numbers the skills he learned less than a year earlier. He grabbed his first born, held him face to face as the baby’s head rested in the marine’s hand and his back rested along his forearm. He swept his pinky finger across the palate of the child to dislodge the wedged food without pushing it farther down the airway as the procedure was taught at that time. When it was not completely removed, the marine turned his son over and held him under the chin with his abdomen supported by his forearm. He gave the child a firm pat on the back between his shoulder blades, just as his drill instructor demonstrated in basic training. A projectile of partly chewed meat flew from the boy’s mouth allowing him to take a deep; much appreciated breathe of air, returning the normal pink color to his cheeks. In that moment, appropriate, decisive action saved the life of a toddler who 19 years later stands at 6 feet 2 inches tall and attends Riverside Community College. Waiting for emergency professionals to arrive could have instead resulted in the writer of this essay composing a testimony of how he sadly watched the life slip away from the body of his beloved son. Consider this; the American Heart Association states that four out of five cardiac arrests happen at home. This means that it is very likely that family and friends of the victims will be there during the precious early moments when CPR can double or triple the likelihood of a person’s survival. It is an unfortunate fact that less than eight percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital environment survive. This poor outcome can be directly attributed to inactivity and the inability of those present to perform a task that everyone should learn. So many obstacles potentially stand between trained medical professionals and those in need of basic life saving services. Every second that passes from the time that 911 is called to the moment that competent action is taken to restore a patent airway and circulation deprives the brain of oxygen rich blood to perfuse it. So, if someone is in need of CPR should teachers, camp counselors, or flight attendants do nothing while waiting for help? Of course not, they must have someone call 911 and begin CPR so that a life can be saved. If a young marine trained to fix weapons and perform military duties can learn how to save a life, everyone should.

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