Organizations like the American St Mark James and the American Heart Association have been pushing for more people to take CPR classes. Administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR quickly and correctly helps increase the survival chances of a cardiac arrest victim. However, numerous healthcare professionals continue to encounter people with the wrong or old information about CPR. It’s important to set the record straight and to alleviate people’s fears and misconceptions about this very important emergency procedure. Here are some of the top misconceptions about CPR.
- Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is required for CPR to be effective
Major health institutions have already revised their policies and are encouraging rescuers to use chest compressions or “hands-only” CPR as an effective alternative to mouth to mouth resuscitation. EMTs and other first responders actually begin chest compressions as soon as possible. Breathing into the victim is usually done through a bag mask but if mouth to mouth resuscitation is to be done, a barrier device is used.
It must be pointed out that a major reason why some bystanders are wary of administering CPR or mouth to mouth is the fear that they might contract HIV/AIDS. This fear is unfounded as HIV/AIDS is only spread through direct transmission of blood, semen or vaginal fluid. But if one doesn’t know the patient, is uncomfortable with putting their mouth on the victim or doesn’t have a CPR mask, continuous chest compressions is enough until professional help arrives.
- CPR always saves a victim of cardiac arrest.
Hollywood movies and TV shows like ER often portray cardiac arrest victims miraculously being revived. Sadly, this is not the reality. Actual data pegs the survival rate of adults suffering cardiac arrest out of the hospital at around 2% to 15%. However, survival rates can go up to as much as 30% if CPR is administered immediately and if an AED is used. These are far better odds to the zero chance that a victim has if no one administers CPR. Also, CPR alone won’t save a victim of cardiac arrest; a defibrillator is needed to bring the heart back to its normal rhythm. What CPR does is delay death until an AED is used or a professional rescuer arrives.
- Bystanders who make a mistake when administering CPR can be sued.
This is a big misconception and something that bystanders who want to help shouldn’t worry over. There haven’t been any cases of lawsuits successfully being brought against emergency rescuers or people who tried to give CPR to a victim. The Good Samaritan law protects anyone who gives emergency treatment from lawsuits as long as the person acted carefully and reasonably. The lawsuits involving CPR that have been filed usually revolved around companies like health clubs or gyms where an employee with first aid certification didn’t use an AED when providing medical assistance.
- Administering CPR can harm or kill the victim.
A cardiac arrest victim is considered clinically dead so the first responder technically can’t kill the victim. But it’s true that that there’s a danger of a victim’s ribs breaking when CPR is performed since chest compressions must be done hard and fast. However, once the victim is resuscitated, these injuries can easily be treated. When all is said and done, a few cracked or broken ribs are a small price to pay when the alternative is death.
- It’s better to let a person with more experience help the victim
This sad mentality of staying in the sidelines should stop. The immediate application of CPR is crucial in the survival of a cardiac arrest victim. So even if you have little experience in CPR, it’s our duty as a responsible citizen of this world to help our fellow man.
Knowing how to administer CPR is vital knowledge that every one of us should learn. Aside from being able to help other people, it can, more importantly, help us save a loved one. There are several St Mark James courses that we can join to learn about this key lifesaving skill.