This dramatic picture (courtesy of the Miami Herald) taken in early 2014, on the surface shows a woman resuscitating an infant with other nervous appearing bystanders looking on. Fortunately, the infant was successfully resuscitated and appears to have made a full recovery.
Let’s break this picture and story down as it exemplifies many of the reasons to learn CPR. The infant is the nephew of the woman resuscitating the infant. 80% of cardiac arrests happen in a private residence. The chances are the person you perform CPR on will be someone that you know or love.
The young woman performing CPR did not work in the medical field. She had been taught CPR once in the remote past. If a person has been taught CPR in the past, they are 50% more likely to perform CPR when called upon. This lady stepped up and saved her nephews life.
The infant arrested in the backseat of a car on a busy highway. The resuscitation took place on the side of the road. You can see the bystander had her cellphone out and 911 was activated. This is the first important step to take in a cardiac arrest. EMS could not get to this woman for sometime due to the traffic congestion. However, if nothing was done while waiting for EMS to arrive, then likely the outcome would have been much different. Whether it is out of fear of injury to the recipient, lack of knowledge of what to do, fear of litigation or shear panic, inaction is a common scenario.
Hands-only CPR, which is not what was needed in this cardiac arrest case as this was a respiratory arrest, is a very safe and easy to learn technique. While there is a small risk of injury performing CPR, the patient is clinically dead and the benefit has a tremendous upside. Hands-only CPR can be taught in 30 minutes to large numbers of people.
This was a great save by a brave by-stander who acted with tremendous clarity that forever changed a child’s life.