The American Heart Association estimates that 90% of people who experience sudden cardiac arrest, outside of a hospital, will die. However, immediate action can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival. Despite the encouraging statistics, there are still common concerns and fears that prevent well meaning bystanders from helping in an emergency situation.
- I must use mouth to mouth when administering CPR. Not so sure you are comfortable with performing mouth to mouth on a stranger? Do not fear! The American Heart Association launched a campaign in 2012 promoting Hands-Only CPR. This method has been shown to be just as effective on adult victims experiencing cardiac arrest, outside of a hospital, as CPR with breaths.
- If I injure a person while administering CPR, I can be sued. Good Samaritan laws in most states will protect a bystander who is acting prudently and according to their training.
- I must get all the steps right in order to help a victim. In many instances, any attempt to help by administering CPR to a victim in cardiac arrest is better than no intervention at all.
- CPR can return a person’s heart to a normal rhythm. CPR is intended to continue the flow of vital oxygen until additional intervention is available. An AED (automated external defibrillator) is used to restore a victim’s heart to a normal rhythm. If an AED is not immediately available, continue chest compressions until emergency personnel have arrived.
- CPR can harm or exasperate the situation. There are potential risks to administering CPR, given the force needed for effective chest compressions. The most common injuries are broken ribs. However, without intervention, a victim’s survival rate is almost 0%. Even if a person has collapsed for a reason other than cardiac arrest, CPR compressions may still help by causing them to respond.