A 15 year old year boy is suddenly awakened late at night by his screaming mother after his father collapsed in bed. She couldn’t get him to respond. He starts CPR while awaiting the fire department and ambulance which had been called. The station is only a mile or two away, but it takes over 10 minutes for them to reach his house. By time the paramedics arrive, it’s too late and his father dies. That 15 year old boy was me.
I can’t say this was the event that made me want to be a physician because I had already decided I wanted to practice medicine. What it did accomplish was to let me know there had to be a better way to decease the mortality of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).
Sudden cardiac arrest, like that of my young father (he was 53 at the time of death and had no signs of heart disease) occurs at home or in public places. In fact, nearly 80% of all SCAs happen in or around the house. Cardiac arrest has been at the top of causes of death since my days in medical school. One thousand (1000) people die each day in the United States. EMS response can be slow, especially in rural areas, so Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR, buys us time in saving a life. For every minute after a Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the survival rate decreases by about 10%.
For more information or to sign up for First Aid/CPR training, please visit the Heart Safe Services Website to sign-up for the training.