You see it in movies and on TV, but medical experts say CPR is not as simple as it looks.
That’s why local paramedics say everyone should be trained.
Lynne Shankle says she’s thankful her work provided group training to learn how to do CPR.
“I’ve never directly been certified myself. I do have three young kids though, so I’m glad that I have some training. Just not certified,” Shankle said.
Shankle says it’s not a requirement at her job, but after some incidents occurred, staff was trained as a precaution.
“I would feel comfortable doing it from the training that I have received just in large groups… I would feel comfortable taking care of them,” Shankle said.
While it’s not required, medical experts recommend anyone working with children or elderly receive training.
Paramedic Matthew Gruchow says the sooner a person begins CPR the better chance of survival they have.
“If you’re going to do anything to help me out, do the chest compressions. There’s a certain way to do it, it’s heel, hand heels together and try and shoot for well over 100 beats a minute,” Gruchow says.
Gruchow says CPR for an adult differs from what’s required for children.
He cautions that CPR should only be performed if you’re properly trained, and that training involves checking for a pulse.
“Doing CPR on somebody who’s got a pulse can do a lot of damage and I’ve certainly seen it in my career so far. People who have started CPR with good intentions on somebody who’s breathing or who has a pulse,” Gruchow said.
He says a variety of medical issues can arise if someone receives CPR who isn’t in need, such as broken bones which can puncture internal organs.
“In order to be effective, you need to know how to do it well in the first place,” Gruchow said.
Which is why Gruchow says in his opinion, everyone should be certified.
“Learn CPR. It doesn’t take all that long and to do it effectively,” Gruchow said.
For more information on how you can become CPR certified, click here.
- Paramedics Plus encourages any bystander — formally trained in CPR or not — to begin chest compressions on anyone they believe is in cardiac arrest. Those precious minutes early in a cardiac arrest are when early, high quality CPR can make the most difference. Metro Communications, our dispatching partners, do an excellent job of helping those with no training to provide quality CPR to individuals who call 911 in hopes of helping someone in cardiac arrest. So, while being placed in an emergency situation can be frightening, bystanders should know they have resources available to them as soon as they call 911 to help them help others.
- CPR need not require a bystander to perform mouth-to-mouth ventilations or ventilations of any sort. Research continues to show chest compressions are the best intervention in cardiac arrests. This is why hands-only CPR is being taught nationwide and has met with great success. Hands-only CPR allows for lay persons to intervene using only chest compressions.
- While taking a class and being formally trained in CPR and other life-saving measures is both rewarding and encouraged, Paramedics Plus would never want lack of such training to keep a bystander from helping someone who is in cardiac arrest. While there are dangers with any sort of medical interventions, and in the case of CPR, can result in broken ribs or other more uncommon injuries, this should not deter bystanders from performing chest compressions in an effort to save someone’s life. South Dakota has a “Good Samaritan” Law that protects those laypersons who perform life-saving measures. This statute can be found at 20-9-4.1 as well as a companion law at 20-9.4.9.
- Chest compressions administered early in a cardiac arrest are still strongly advocated. But there are differences in what technique is used to perform those compressions depending on the patient’s age. This is again where the 911 operators will step in and offer guidance on the proper technique to perform given the situation the bystander is in.