Monday, June 21, 2010

Practical CPR Application: Have you had to use your skills??

This weekend I almost had to use my newly minted CPR skills. My cousin turned seven on Sunday so for her birthday and Father’s Day my dad’s side of the family gathered at a pizza place with arcade games, laser tag, bumper cars and mini golf. After a rip-roaring round in the bumper car ring I headed to check on my aunt and cousins. My aunt needed a break so she asked if I could watch the little ones as they played arcade games. The birthday girl and I walked over to the Ski Ball game, entered our tokens and started to play. Shortly thereafter I heard a man screaming profusely in another language at his wife nearby. I immediately grabbed my cousin thinking some sort of domestic violence was about to ensue. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman on the ground clearly having a seizure.

Honestly, I panicked. For half a second I didn’t know what to do. What felt like minutes but was just milliseconds later, I asked the husband if she was okay and told him to dial 911. Knowing that my sister who is a nurse and my uncle who is a Physicians Assistant were both nearby and more qualified than I to handle the situation I yelled to my sister, “There’s an emergency, there’s an emergency, this woman is seizing!”

She ran over, checked the woman who was still seizing and made sure she was in position so that she wouldn’t vomit and aspirate. My uncle then rushed over. At this point she had stopped seizing and he turned her on her side. He felt no pulse and she was not breathing. He began compressions, gave two breaths and checked her again. She then became conscious and extremely disoriented. In the meantime, I had taken my cousin away because she started to cry, wondering what was wrong with that “mommy on the ground.” Shortly afterward, the paramedics showed up and I watched from a distance as my uncle gave them a report of what happened and then took the woman away on a stretcher.

I have hashed and re-hashed the event over and over in my mind. Why for half a second did I panic? Thankful that the adrenaline kicked in and that I knew there were more qualified people nearby, my mind is at ease. But I wonder what I would have done if I were the only one in the room, or if my uncle and sister were not there. I hope that my adrenaline would have kept pumping and that I would have poked her to ask if she was okay and checked her breathing and then started CPR. Doing CPR on a dummy and pretending to assess the situation during class is incredibly different than the real life situation I had to deal with yesterday. I am glad I knew to have someone call 911 (although next time I will assign that task to someone besides the frantic husband.) I’m grateful I know the skills so if my uncle and sister had not been there, I could have helped save that wife and mother.

Hopefully all of our faithful blog readers (all two of you, hi mom!) are certified in CPR, First Aid, and AED. If not sign up for a class today!
And for those of you who are trained, check out the Red Cross store and get yourself a breathing barrier and other CPR necessities.

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