One day you are walking around the park then you suddenly witness a man collapse. What will be the most efficient response in this kind of situation? Most people will answer that they will call 911 or other emergency numbers. However the more efficient response will be to assess the victim’s status, ask others to call 911, and provide basic life support as necessary.
You may be wondering what is basic life support (BLS). It is actually the act of providing chest compressions and breaths. Most of us have heard of this term as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). CPR is provided to an individual who has no pulse and breathing. The immediate and effective act of CPR increases the survival rate of individuals who lost their consciousness and suffered from cardiopulmonary arrest. The techniques involved in providing CPR are included in basic life support classes which is made available not only to healthcare professionals but also to the general public. You don’t need a medical degree to save a life, you just need to follow the principles and execute them properly.
Let us go back to the scenario and try to address it using the principles in basic life support. You see a man collapse in the park, your response should be:
- First response is to approach him while assessing for scene safety. The reason behind this is to avoid further harm to the respondent which is you. If you try to help the man without assessing for the risks then you might both end up getting injured.
- If the scene is safe, check if the man is conscious by tapping him on both shoulders and asking him if he is alright.
- If the man does not respond to your query then you can ask other bystanders to call 911.
- Check for pulse and breathing simultaneously. You have to check the carotid pulse which is located on the neck under the jawline. While doing this you have to also observe for chest rise as an indicator if the victim is still breathing. However if you have difficulty assessing the pulse within 10 seconds or if you observe that the victim has labored breathing then you have to start CPR immediately. This will ensure return of blood circulation to the brain.
- To administer chest compressions, place the heel of your one hand on the center of the chest on the level of the nipples. Place your other hand over the other and straighten your arm when providing chest compressions. You should be able to do at least 100 compressions per minute to ensure that the blood being pumped from the heart reaches the brain.
- If you are a certified BLS provider or is confident in doing the BLS techniques then you can administer 2 breaths every 30 compressions. However if you are not trained to do CPR then you can just administer chest compressions, again with a rate of at least 100 per minute.
- You have to administer chest compressions efficiently. The idea is to push hard and to push fast.
- You can stop providing CPR in the following scenarios:
- Patient becomes responsive.
- 911 or other trained respondents arrive.
- Scene becomes unsafe.
- You become fatigued.
The immediate response and delivery of CPR is very important in determining the outcome of the victim’s condition. He may actually survive without complications if CPR is provided immediately and effectively. So if you want to save someone’s life someday then you should attend CPR training courses or basic life support training.