Saving lives easy as putting tools in students’ hands

April 5, 2014

As a nurse practitioner, I’m reminded of the importance of knowing the lifesaving skill of CPR on a daily basis. But I actually learned this lesson as a teenager. Forty years ago, my brother - as a recent high school graduate - resuscitated a 5-year-old girl at a Kmart store. He learned CPR because of a previous experience of not being able to help someone. No one ever needs to feel helpless when a friend, a neighbor or a stranger has problems.

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. Of the 383,000 people that suffer Sudden Cardiac Arrest outside of a hospital each year, the vast majority do not receive bystander CPR and less than 11 percent survive.

When given within the first few minutes after cardiac arrest, CPR can double - or even triple - survival rates. Seventy percent of Americans, however, may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they don’t know how to administer CPR.

What if everyone learned CPR in high school and was prepared to save lives? During a health or physical education class (and in less time than it takes to watch a 30-minute TV show) students can learn the CPR skills they need to help save someone’s life. Graduates from just one CPR-focused school in Long Island, NY have saved 16 lives. Imagine if students in every high school in Delaware learned CPR!.Our state lawmakers should pass the bill that has been proposed to make CPR education a requirement across Delaware.

Lynn Toth RN MSN NP-C

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