We understand you have some personal experience with doing CPR. Tell us about the situation.
My dad had a heart attack and went into cardiac arrest while we were at home.
Who all was there?
My dad, my mom, my boyfriend and me.
How did you respond?
My mom called 911 while my boyfriend and I administered CPR and waited for help.
Before that, I honestly never thought about CPR in my daily life. To me it was something only doctors or nurses or health care professionals ever did, so it was just luck that we had the certification. (My boyfriend and I are Wilderness First Responder certified since we spend a lot of time outdoors, and part of that is how to do CPR.)
Honestly, we did not even think about what to do. We just did it, like a survival instinct. We were able to do CPR until paramedics arrived and took over. Then he went to the hospital and a lot of other people did great work to save him. Getting 911 on the phone immediately is critical since CPR is just to keep blood moving until the person can get to a hospital.
What difference did it make?
The doctors at the hospital said CPR undoubtedly saved his life and his quality of life. Because we started immediately, he suffered no long-term mental impairment. However, it is also important to note that even with CPR, cardiac arrest is not often survived. Still, CPR vastly improves the chance of survival.
How did this experience change you?
It made me a lot more grateful for people in health care and a lot more determined to make sure people know how to do CPR. Knowing CPR can be the difference between losing a parent or loved one and getting to have more time with them. It is easy to learn and relatively easy to do. If more people learn CPR, there will absolutely be more people saved.
Anything else you want to share?
Not enough people know how to do CPR. When you need it, you really need it immediately and it has to just kick in. It is relatively simple to get certified—you can do the course in less than a half day, and it can absolutely save someone you love, or someone else in need.
According to the American Heart Association, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital each year, and unfortunately 90 percent of those people die. Less than half (46%) of these people receive immediate CPR. But if it’s performed immediately, CPR can double or triple the chance of survival from an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Bystander CPR improves the chance of survival.
The more people who know CPR, the more lives are saved. In King County, Washington, there has been a lot of effort to increase CPR training for the general population and increase access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs), which has vastly improved the survival rate for cardiac arrest in King County. In 2018, the survival rate for witnessed ventricular fibrillation cardiac arrest in Seattle and King County was 56 percent (Source: Seattle & King County Division of Emergency Medical Services) while the survival rate in the United States as a whole is around 10 percent (Source: Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation).
Thanks, Anna! We appreciate you telling your story and sharing what you’ve learned about the importance of CPR certification.