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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"Bystander" is more an environment than a level of training

When we hear "Bystander CPR" the image that comes to many minds is a person at home or at the shopping mall who isn't a medical professional but who has just seen someone have a sudden cardiac arrest. (You can thank TV for that shopping mall image - 85% of all out-of-hospital arrests occur in a private residence.)

The bystander environment is usually one where the witness has to call 911 and perform hands-only CPR  alone for an average of ten minutes. The ambulance environment and the hospital environment have other people there to help.

When tested on a manikin exhibiting a chest stiffness at the 32nd percentile - a little less than 65% as stiff as the AVERAGE adult's chest - one-in-six of the subjects tested made it to ten minutes using their hands, but four times as many made it to ten minutes using the heel of their foot.

When talking with EMTs, Paramedics, Nurses, and Doctors about heel compression CPR, the typical reaction I get is "no thanks - I'm CPR certified." The problem is that those medical professionals are certified in a manual technique that that usually cannot be performed on a real adult for ten minutes! When you are by yourself, you are a Bystander, regardless of your training.

Here's where you can watch a demonstration of Heel Compressions. And while you're at it, why not brush up on AED use, choking emergencies, and stroke recognition - they're all in the same folder.

...and to belabor the obvious, after you've watched the videos, you won't be any safer - the folks around you will be safer. So make sure those who are around you frequently watch the videos, too.