I’ve been a CFR for a couple of years now (OK, underestimate), but I’ve rarely had to do CPR.
CPR, for the uninitiated, is not similar to a CFR (Community First Responder), though we sometimes do it. It’s Cardio-Pumonary Resuscitation – chest compressions and breathing for the patient. It’s used only when the patient has no pulse.
I’ve now done it for real twice in the last month. Before this, I doubt if I’ve needed to do it more than once a year. Unfortunately it didn’t work either time.
The first one was for a bloke of about 75. I arrived to find the Community Paramedic (CP) already performing CPR. She shouted to me to take over so I did, whilst she gave various drugs. She’d already checked to see if she could use a defibrillator, but no joy. I really gave it my best and continued when the ambulance crew arrived.
Unfortunately, this time my best, and the professionals’ too, wasn’t good enough. We had to accept that the poor chap was dead.
Walking away from the scene, the CP said to me “Your chest compressions are damn good. You did them as if you meant it.”
She may have simply been making nice comments, but she’s not like that. Her “nice comments” would have been more general, so I believed her. I felt I’d done the CPR as well as most professionals could – I’ve been practising for over 40 years, after all!
The other day, I had to do it again. This time I was first on scene to find an old lady trying to do CPR on her equally aged husband – and not making a particularly good job of it. Like most caring people, she was being too gentle.
I felt for a pulse in his neck and couldn’t find one. His neck felt a little stiff too.
Giving a couple of rounds of CPR, I then tried the defibrillator. No joy – no shockable pulse. Back to the CPR.
I was on my own for a few minutes and then the CP (different one) turned up about 45 seconds before the ambulance crew. They attached the leads to do an ECG and got a flat line. Well, first of all they got my compressions (as I don’t stop until I’m told to), and then the flat line. Checking the time since the patient first stopped breathing, the CP asked me to stop – we’d done all we could.
OK, two cases and no result in either. Will it stop me from using CPR again? Of course not. Our problem is that, by the time we get on scene, some time has passed since the original stopping of the heart. The longer it’s been stopped, without good CPR, the harder it is to get it going again.
I feel that EVERY citizen should be trained in CPR, at least every three years. Not being trained would result in you losing every benefit you get from the State. OK, there would be exemptions for those who physically couldn’t do it or who had a genuine religious or ethical reason for not learning the technique. Having said that, all the major religious groups support CPR.
My heart goes out to the people in the two cases mentioned who lost a loved one;I just wish that CPR hadn’t been necessary, or that it had resulted in their loved ones survivals.
What do YOU think?