CPR mindset

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by phishi, Oct 28, 2005.

  1. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    This is a difficult post to write, mostly because it asks you the reader to think differently than you have been trained to. Let me start by telling you a bit about myself. I currently work as an ER tech in one of the busier ERs in the state. I have worked there for over 3 years. Over that time I have performed CPR numerous times, more than I care to remember.

    Performing CPR is not like what you see on TV or in the movies. It is physically exhausting work. You do it for long periods of time with your back straining and your wrists aching. You often feel the ribs crack as you compress. You sweat. You hope it works. Of all the codes that I have witnessed, I can think of only one where the patient survived to resume a normal life. I can think of only a few who lived, but who would have to deal with serious medical problems for the rest of their days (kidney problems, stroke like symptoms, altered mental status, etc.). Most don't make it out of the room.

    This sobering thought needs to be tempered with the realization that it takes more than the individual doing compressions to run a code. You need a doctor and at least another nurse. You need respiratory to bring and set up a vent. You need a code cart, and drugs, and an ICU or CCU to take the patient to providing that we get a pulse back. It is helpful to have more than this, but in the end the patient often still does not live.

    I'm saying all of this, because there maybe a time in your life when you will be asked to perform CPR. I'm not speaking of next week, when out at a restaurant you watch someone go down. In that situation you, despite what I wrote above, are giving the patient a chance at life. In fact, you increase that chance the faster you get to them and get started. I'm speaking of a point where EMS is not available. When a hospital is not minutes away, but hours. When there is not a vent, or a crash cart, or drugs to help you. When to start CPR, and to perform it until you are to exhausted to continue, would be dangerous to you.

    If you ever find yourself in a situation where medical care is greater than two hours away, and a serious medical emergency occurs, you are naturally going to feel that you need to do everything and then some to save the patient. This is what responsible people do. However, you need to start chewing on the idea that you may not be able to save this individual. Or even worse, that you maybe placing yourself in jeopardy by attempting to do so.

    By starting to think about this now, you can get the proper mindset in place. The way that I think about this is by placing myself in the patient's place. If I was down, and a storm was rolling in, with a 6 mile walk back to the trail head, and an hour's drive to help, would I want my loved one to endanger their life by starting CPR? Sure its an extreme scenario, but it would be my luck to keel over at that point in time. By starting to think about this now, you will be better prepared if it ever happens.

    Just my .02.
  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Good advice as always... I think a lot of people have no idea what some of these things they read in manuals actually require in the real
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