Friday, November 24, 2006

Saving Lives: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)

I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation. I was taking a walk when I chanced upon the board at a Day-care Centre for the elderly, which encouraged people to be “Life-savers”. The service is being run by Nightingales Medical Trust, Bangalore.

It was an exciting prospect to know what it would take to save lives. Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation – or CPR, as it is known – is about the first aid that is to be administered to people who suffer from sudden Cardiac and/ or respiratory arrests, when the victims’ hearts stop working or when victims are unable to breathe. This leads to cardiac arrest, which may eventually be fatal. The purpose of the workshop was to educate participants to resuscitate people who are sinking after heart attacks or heart failures.

The workshop lasted for a couple of hours and cost two hundred rupees. Given the potential benefit to people through the programme, the cost in terms of time and money was virtually negligible. Apart from the theoretical part of it (which was administered by practising doctors and was extremely informative), there were practical sessions where the resuscitation process was practised on mannequins that made participants get a feel of the nuances involved in the simple yet critical procedure. And the interesting aspect of the session was that practising physicians and medical students were part of the participants! That was not something one would expect to find in a session on first aid.

Given that anyone could fall prey to sudden cardiac attacks under any circumstance, I found it was absolutely essential that we need to be armed with these vital skills that may save lives in the precious moments immediately following heart failures. After all, two hours over a weekend could make a world of difference to someone.

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