Many of us didn’t know that the publication of the 2010 American Heart Association Guideline for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation coincided with the 50th anniversary of modern CPR. The earliest records of resuscitative efforts are said to have occurred around 1740.
The first city to teach and promote resuscitation was Amsterdam, a city of canals where drowning accounted for as many as 400 deaths per year. In August 1767, the Society for Recovery of Drowned Persons was formed in Amsterdam. This society was the first organized effort to respond to sudden death. Within four years of its founding, the society claimed that 150 people were saved by their recommendations. Their techniques involved a range of methods to stimulate the body, including:
• Warming the victim
• Removing swallowed or aspirated water by positioning the victim's head lower than feet
• Applying manual pressure to the abdomen
• Respirations in to the victim's mouth, either using a bellows or with a mouth-to-mouth method
For many years, these efforts were only utilized for drowning victims. CPR has evolved over the years but the idea of training citizens remains paramount. Recent statistics show that EMS responders treat about 300,000 victims of sudden cardiac arrest each year. However, only one-third of these victims receive CPR before the arrival of trained technicians; therefore, only 8 percent survive.
The City of Sugar Land has several organizational goals, including “Safest City in America.” When we think of safety, we often think of police officers, firefighters, paramedics or health care providers. This month’s column focuses on the contribution that each and every one of us can make to save lives.
I sat across from a man this morning best described as quiet, private and unassuming. He did not want to be identified in this column or recognized for his heroic actions a few short weeks ago. He has worked for the city for many years and attended safety training throughout most of them. Several years ago, he received a short introduction to CPR during a work-related safety class. He told me, “I never really thought that I’d ever use it.” However, as he was driving home in Sugar Land, he saw an object in the roadway. With kids in the area, he thought that it may have been a toy or manikin of some type. As he pulled to the side of the road, he realized the object was a man who was unconscious, unresponsive and not breathing. He asked a nearby neighbor to call 911 and initiated CPR. Within a few short minutes, the Sugar Land Fire Department arrived and began treatment. I’m happy to report that the person survived and is continuing to improve at the hospital.
As our population continues to age, the need for us all to “know what to do” will grow exponentially! I encourage everyone to consider taking a CPR course. If your occupation, group or organization requires a credentialed class (card issued), then check out the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org. It’s easy to find a class in the area. Moreover, individuals or families can purchase an in-home CPR class called “CPR Anytime” for $34.95. If you have a group or an organization and would like a non-credentialed class, call my office at (281) 275-2859, and we will get it scheduled. We all have a stake in being the “Safest City in America!”
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