Why Take a C.P.R. Class?




                                                             Dennis P. McGeehan, B.L.S. Instructor


During my years as an employee I was required to attend many boring in-services. The company was required by law to have all employees trained in H.I.P.P.A. , Documentation, Infection Control (How to wash your hands), etc. In reality there is a real need for this training but everyone, including the trainer, suffered through it just to not get into trouble.

But there was one type of training that was different. The information presented during it could not only keep you out of trouble but actually get you out of trouble. That training was C.P.R. and First Aid.

I worked most of my adult life in a large residential facility for persons with disabilities. Patient injuries were not uncommon. Some were self inflicted, others the result of attacks from other patients and still others were just accidents. We were required by law to treat the injuries (that’s the keep yourself out of trouble part). No matter how hard you tried to prevent the injuries from happening, they did occur, sometimes to patients and at others to the staff or even yourself.

The training we all received in C.P.R. and First Aid was put to frequent use at work. I never really thought that much about it until one evening when I was home and watching T.V. My mother who had gone to bed earlier came out of her room saying she did not feel well. She complained her arm and chest hurt. My ears perked up, she was describing the classic signs of a Heart Attack. I asked if she wanted to go to the hospital. "No!" was her emphatic answer, "I’m fine." Another classic sign, denial.

The pain got progressively worse and in less than 15 minutes I had her at the Emergency Room where an E.K.G. confirmed she was indeed having a Heart Attack.

Without the training I was required to take at work I would not have known what was happening. Because of the training in C.P.R. and First Aid I was able to recognize the symptoms and act quickly. Because of that she lived another 25 years.


Why take C.P.R. and First Aid? Because you must have it for your job. Maybe? How about because by learning and staying current in your C.P.R. and First Aid skills you may just save the life of someone you love. If that isn’t reason enough for you then I have nothing else to say.





                                                   Injuries Caused by C.P.R.


                                              Dennis P. McGeehan, B.L.S. Instructor

I have been teaching C.P.R. classes since the early 1980's. During that time the one question I have heard asked more often than any other is, "What about doing C.P.R. on the elderly? What if they have Osteoporosis? Won’t you break their ribs?"

The answer is , "Yep, there’s a very good chance you’ll break a few ribs," is the answer. No one wants to hurt Grandma or Grandpa. That’s a good thing. People are also worried they’ll get sued if they do break someone’s ribs. But as their asking the question they are momentarily losing sight of the situation, if you must do C.P.R. on Grandma or Grandpa, they are dying or dead already. If you don’t do C.P.R. they won’t have to worry about those broken ribs, or anything else this side of eternity either.

Most people live in a world where true life and death situations are rare. It may seem like a critical situation that you missed your Mocha Latte with a Double shot this morning but it really isn’t. We fret about upcoming events and talk in superlatives about what will happen if we don’t do "X" or can’t manage "Y" but truthfully our lives are pretty safe. This makes the transition to talking about real life threatening situations seem alien.  This cocoon of safety that we live in makes it difficult for some students to grasp the full impact of reality. The same thing happens in Self Defense training where the students say they could never really hurt another person. Really? What if the person was planning on killing you or WORSE.

As an instructor I have seen this hesitation many times. In class all I can do is point out the alternatives, Scenario A : Do Nothing so you don’t hurt the person and they probably will die. Scenario B: Help the person, risk injuring them and they will possibly live.

But what about the possibility of being sued?

If the lay responder does what they are trained to do they are protected by the Good Samaritan Law [ http://www.concentric.net/~Maxfax/files/law2.htm ]. People will always argue that a good lawyer can get around it and that might be true although I am unaware of any cases where a lay responder was successfully sued.. I do now that I have to live with myself and if I can help someone I want to do just that.

So, if you find yourself in a Real Life or Death situation, trust your training and do as you are trained .