Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR as most of us know it, is an emergency procedure which is performed in an effort to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person in cardiac arrest. It is used on those who are unresponsive with no breathing or abnormal breathing. Simply put, it is a method of keeping an individual alive until medical help can arrive.
Why do we need to know CPR? The reasons are many to know it, and few not to. Knowing CPR could be the difference in saving a life, or watching someone you care about die right in front of you, which I learned recently. CPR is one of those things that you might not ever use, but you rather know it and not need it, than to need it and not know it.
I have been through numerous, seemingly boring CPR classes. I think my boredom stems from the fact that they classes are often held during the most inopportune times – Saturdays during football season, for example. My mind tends to wander during the training, as I’m sure it does with most people. My cell phones usually come out as I text and check Facebook and emails. I have, after-all, been taking this course since the early 80’s, well before technology gave me something to do during the endless videos and demonstrations. Just give me my certification card so that I can get out of here and on to something important!
My latest class was held just a few short weeks ago. This particular one was sponsored by the Goldwing Road Riders Association, a group of people who share a love for the Cadillac of motorcycles, Honda’s flagship bike. This group believes in having fun, but safety is paramount. The group gives various trainings each year, and I try to stay current with each one. Taking a CPR course with a group of bikers is far different then the standard YMCA course, where the disinterested are usually in attendance to garner extra credit for work or school. Bikers take this course seriously – it is not a matter of whether or not they will ever use these skills – but more a matter of when.
The training I received in that class was put into action last Saturday when a group of bikers headed to Leesburg, Florida for their annual Bike Fest, came up on a horrific scene – a group of bikers heading toward up had a chance encounter with a deer crossing the highway. The first biker struck the deer and was thrown from his bike, landing almost fifty yards from where the bike came to rest. The second bike then struck the first bike throwing the rider and his co-rider off. There was mass hysteria and chaos when we pulled up, with folks standing around while three people lay on the ground with various injuries. When we were finally able to access the situation, we realized that these folks were in a dire situation with life threatening injuries. All of a sudden, our training kicked in. All of the boring videos and demonstrations were staring us right in our faces. Without missing a beat, we started CPR on the first victim while others worked on the other two. Someone called for emergency services, but due to our location in the forest, it took a while for them to arrive, and when they did, they were ill prepared for what they encountered. We continued CPR even after emergency services arrived and continued until the paramedics pronounced the first victim. It is surreal watching someone’s life end while you are trying to save them. You continue to work, knowing full well that they are not going home, they are never going to see their family and friends again, that this is it. It took awhile to realize that there was nothing else we could to to save him, but it still bothers you. We were able to stabilize the other victims until life-flight arrived from Orlando. Although we were not able to save the first victim, we were able to aid him for a long as possible until help arrived on the scene. Had we not taken that course, who knows what could have happened that afternoon?
I will no longer complain about taking another CPR course, nor will I text and check Facebook during those important videos. CPR is a much-needed skill to add to your toolbox, and if you don’t have it, I strongly suggest you take the next available course.
Blogging While Lee Brown (C) 2012