Essay by: ISP095
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States (n.d.), 220,000 people fall victims of sudden cardiac arrest per year. Of those 220,000 cases, 10,000 occur in the workplace. Unfortunately, because many victims must wait for the time it takes for emergency personnel to arrive, only five to seven percent of people who experience cardiac arrest survive (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, n.d.). It is concerning that professionals in the work place do not know how to perform basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in order to save a fellow companion from becoming part of the 10,000 workers in America who experience cardiac arrest. It is because of this that learning CPR is important for two simple reasons: cardiac arrest can occur to anyone, including individuals who have no history of cardiac complications and additionally, knowing how to perform CPR can help avoid deaths that are preventable.
Cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical system of the heart stops properly functioning, which causes the heart to pump blood in an irregular rhythm. When this occurs, the heart is unable to pump blood throughout the body and thus death can result in only a matter of minutes (American Heart Association, 2014a). If this does not sound striking enough, according to the American Heart Association (2014b), many victims often have no known heart disease or risk factors that could have caused their cardiac arrest. This means a non-healthcare professional can be sitting in a cubicle and a fellow coworker, client, or bystander that appears seemingly healthy can suddenly fall unconscious from a sudden cardiac arrest. What would happen in this instance? Consider the shock that would occur if an individual experienced this first hand. They panic, and in the time it takes to recover from the shock of watching someone stop breathing and fall unconscious on the floor a minute has already passed by. In the time that it takes for them to react to what has just happened and run to seek help, two minutes pass by. Finally, they are able to get ahold of 9-1-1, but in the five minute drive that it takes for an ambulance to get there, the victim has already died. The individual who tried to help, but failed, enters in a state of disbelief because the seemingly healthy person standing beside them with no cause of concern has just died in a matter of minutes. This is an example of how cardiac arrest can occur to any one and at any time, which gives even more of a reason in itself for someone to learn CPR.
Scenarios like those depicted above may happen more than one may think, and the most tragic part of it is that deaths caused by cardiac arrest in the professional workplace can be preventable if non-healthcare professionals were required to know how to perform CPR. Like the individual depicted in the scenario, seventy percent of Americans feel incapable of performing CPR simply because they do not know how (American Heart Association, 2014b). Seventy percent is a disturbingly large number. I believe we can gradually expose our population to know how to properly perform CPR by starting in the work place. If non health care professionals were to learn CPR, the five percent survival rate from cardiac arrest that was previously mentioned could increase and the percentage of Americans who do not know CPR will decrease.
Cardiac arrest is a tragic event that is no respecter of persons. It can strike a seemingly healthy person without even a trace of cardiac disease or other causes. Without the proper knowledge of how to prevent it, innocent victims will only be spared their life for a matter of minutes before it’s robbed from them. For these reasons it is important that non-healthcare professionals learn how to perform CPR. Five minutes of knowing CPR can make the difference in saving a life.