First aid, CPR, medical - Why get trained?

Discussion in 'Survival Medicine' started by monkeyman, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I wanted to share an experience from my own life in hopes it may give some one a different perspective and keep them from haveing a similar experience.

    My best friend had a lot of health problems, COPD (similar to emphazema), CHF (conjestive heart failure), and diabetes to name the top 3. The first part of this year he started haveing some irregular heart rythems and his DR had him admitted to the hospital. He was in for about 1 week and then on Feb. 2 this year they let us know he was ready to come home and could be treated with a couple new pills in his diet.

    I went to the city to the hospital to pick him up and we sat in his room chatting about the new shotgun I was planning to buy while they finished up his release papers then gathered up his things and headed for the truck. He was in a motorized wheel chair but able to transfer himself, which was good since he was a VERY large man. We went out the doors by where the truck was parked right under the edge of the life flight chopper pad and I backed the truck out so he could get in. As normal he took off his oxygen to transfer so the hose didnt try to pull his nose off and started to get into the truck. This day he was haveing a lot of trouble getting in, which wasnt unusual, so I went to the drivers side and took his hands so he could pull himself across then set up like we had several times in the past. He started to roll off the seat and caught himself then layed back to catch his breath and I went back to the passenger side to help from there. After a minute I asked if he needed his O2 and got no response, I tried for an anwser a couple more times as he sometimes wouldnt respond when out of breath, and he raised his head, gasped and layed back. I got his O2 and offered it to him with no response twice, so I patted him and asked for a response to no avail. I took hold of the lapels of his coat and raised him up and saw his eyes open but unfocused. I knew at this point we had a serious problem so looked back and saw someone comeing out the doors and knew there was a reception desk just inside so I screamed at him, "We need help out here, tell them a pacient is unresponsive here!" He ran in and a minute later came out and let me know he had told them, as he aproached I checked for a pulse and found he had none. I had been trying to get his O2 on him and flowing this whole time. I yelled to the guy, "tell them to send a crash cart, that he's flat line!" He RAN back in and told them. I havent ever had a CPR class and especialy with his conditions I wasnt sure what to do, with the elasticity of his lungs being poor will I rip them if I give breaths? With CHF and his size dose it change what you do for compressions, will I do more harm than good? It seemed obvious that since I didnt have the training and since I was less than 100 yards from the ER doors, and there was an empty ambulance setting at the ER then it seemed it would be better to just not take a chance on doing any damage, after all profesionals were just 100 yards away, they could casualy walk to him in less than 2 minites and surely they were just grabbing gear and would be RUNNING, so it was ok to wait for help, we were AT the hospital for gods sake! I looked around as I was still trying to get the guages on his O2 to let the air flow and no one was running, no one was speeding up in an ambulance, no one was comeing. I grabbed a cell phone from the glove box and called 911 and they anwsered, "911, hold please.".... A minute later they came back on 'whats your emergency' I let them know I was in the lot at the hospital (by name and which lot) and that my friend was unresponsive and had no pulse, she wanted to know a number where she could call me back, I explained quickly and calmly that I was on a cell phone with no service and there was no way of calling me back. She wouldnt get over a call back number and was more interested in that than anything else so after 3 or 4 times through this I repeated, "Im in the ----- lot of ------ hospital, my friend is flat line on the ground, send an ambulance NOW please." then droped the phone and went back to trying to be sure he was in a position where positional affixia would not be an issue and to administer O2.

    I finaly heard the sirens start in the ER lot on the ambulance and listened as they went around 3 sides of the block to avoid going out the entrance that would have cut the distance by about 90% then the ambulance, a security car filled with ER staff and a fire truck all arived in convoy.

    In the rush of information gathering that they needed one of the questions was, 'how long has he been down?' I was certian in the madness of haveing my best friend flat line in my arms that adrenaline had simply been pumping and makeing the seconds seem like minutesand informed her that I wasnt sure due to this fact, but I was sure it had been at least 5 to 10 minutes. In my mind I was sure it had been around 20 to 30 minutes, but that was IMPOSSIBLE, we were less than 1 block from the ER doors, you could see them, it had to just be the adrenaline...... I spoke to 2 other people who were dispationate (didnt know anyone involved and watched from windows) who had seen the entire thing from the windows of the hospital and had also called the operator, and they both confirmed......from the time they saw me raise him up untill the time help arived was aproximatly 25 MINUTES!!!

    25 MINUTES TO GET 1 BLOCK!!! He was cremated 2 days later.

    The thing I hope you will understand from this, and YES, it is 100% true of what happened in my life on FEB 2, 2005, is that you CAN NOT COUNT ON HELP TO COME!!! If there is anyone in this world you care about or if you care for your fellow man in general, you owe it to them and to your self to get as much training as you can in emergency medical response and if some one is in front of you and needs help , dont wait, do what you can for them as 'the profesonals' amy not be in as much of a hurry as you would think even if they are just around the corner and if they are any distance away then even 5 miles at 60 is 5 minutes, 5 minutes flat line is a LONG time, so is 5 min with a major wound bleeding out

    I just hope others will get the training sooner than I did and do what needs to be done so maybe you wont have a story to match this one.

    arleigh likes this.
  2. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Monkeyman I very sorry to learn of your loss of a friend, My Condolences.
    It brings up a good point and hopefully this info will save someone.
    My wife and I are both CPR Cert mine has expired recently but hers is up to date as of a month ago.

    This is a weird day.
    Today I learned of a friend passing over the weekend rafting on the Deschutes River while rafting.
    He and his girlfriend were rafting over the weekend and their raft got lodged against some rocks pretty hard.
    He jumped in chest deep water and began pushing, so hard in fact he had a major heart attack and died.
    She had to raft him down the river the rest of the day, Man life deals out some pretty hard cards at times. I will miss him.
    That’s two in 2 years for friends I’m loosing to heart attacks and both seemed in good shape.
    I learned a lot of the two losses, and a doctors check up every year is coming to me.
  3. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I am sure it was a frustating experience to say the least. You have made some great points concerning training and how it possibly could prevent loss of life. I hope that others can learn from your experience and not have to go through what you did that afternoon.

    Again, I'm sorry for your loss.
  4. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Quig- a doctor's check up can save possible grief later on. Hopefully others will take this to heart and go in also. They are never fun, but I always feel better after its over.

    I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your friend also, and hope that his companion will weather her own personal storm well. These things are never easy......

  5. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I am sorry to hear about both of y'all's loss. That is tough. Real tough, and an eye opener.
  6. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Its been 6 months and the grief is pretty well faded, though he will always be missed. I basicly just felt I should post this since I know so many folks feel that med training for the average person isnt important since 'help is just 3 didgets away. 911' and with cell phones have a false sence of security. Im just hopeing it can show folks that they need to be able to stableize someone themselves or they may get the experience of standing by watching a loved one die since they didnt know what to do.
    BY THE WAY; This isnt even an isolated incedent. One of the adminastrators let it slip that this kind of thing usualy happens at least a couple times a month there at the hospital and the response time was about average.
  7. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    HOLY SHEET! Man here it's easy to get help .
  8. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    It was easy there if you could wait....
  9. LondonCalling

    LondonCalling Monkey++

    Re: Why get trained?

    MM: As others have said,and i will say now we are all sorry for the loss of a good friend.

    This above statement stood out for me MM it is so very true!
    Even to the point where i could have gone on a basic course just last month but passed it up because i was to damm LAZY, i guess i would be the one relying on the 3 didgets 999...... im signing up for the september course without fail!!!
    cheers MM
  10. toemag

    toemag Monkey++

    Re: Why get trained?

    My condolences, it always hurts when you loose someone close to you, and I can't even imagine the feelings that monkeyman or the wife felt.

    First aid is a good thing to have and do on a regular basis, I don't. It's also just as important that those in the rest of the team in a SHTF situation are adequately trained in first aid too, if the designated medic is hurt or passes away because no one else knew how to help him/her it could spoil things for all of the monkeys.

    Just my 0,02cts worth.

  11. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Re: Why get trained?

    Londoncalling, glad to hear it helped you decide to get the training. If they dont get into every situation also dont hesitate to ask questions. I know one of the big reasons I didnt act that day was due to the fact that even though I knew CPR basics (through informal training from family and friends in medical field) I didnt know and had never thought to ask about how it changed with special circumstances dependent on the patient. My friend was about 500 lbs but so figured might need to be harder but at the same time had ostioperosis so brital bones and was afraid of putting ribs through organs ('as hard as you can' often applies a bit different for me than a lot of folks) and since he had lung problems I wasnt sure if breaths would be done the same as on others.

    I have since learned that it would have been about the same as on anyone else but had never thought to ask BEFORE I needed it. Then is the other important leasson that when its life or death hessitating to act is the worst thing to do since that tends to remove life possibility and guarantee death since YOU are the only one you can truely count on in an emergency.
  12. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Re: Why get trained?

    MM, sorry for your loss, I can empathize with you there after recently losing my father.

    I agree, get training whenever and wherever you can. The company I work for offered CPR, First-Aid, and AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) training for anyone that wanted it. Out of a company of 200+employees, 13 people took up the offer for FREE training (yes, I was one of them).

    After completing the training I looked into getting an AED for each vehicle, well cheapest one I found was $1200, so that a no-go for any vehicle. If only these were a bit cheaper, maybe as they become more accepted the price will come down a bit.
  13. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Re: Why get trained?

    The sting of the loss has pretty well faded (he died 2-2-05) but the lesson still stands.
  14. BAT1

    BAT1 Cowboys know no fear

    Re: Why get trained?

    Sorry for the loss of your friend. This real encouraging, you see, I have been diagnosed with CHF. The way you do self CPR is to take a deep breath and cough hard and repeat. The cough will force the O2 into your lungs. But with COPD it will be hard to do that. That hospital should be sued. For a person to die at a hospital while no one responds, it should be put on the news. I know the frustration, as I'm having a hard time with the system just to keep myself supplied with meds. This isn't a health care system it is total chaos. Mercy!
  15. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Re: Why get trained?

    The hospitols are protected so its almost imposible to sue them, we tried.
  16. spacecoast

    spacecoast Monkey+

    Breaking ribs doing CPR is a very common and totally understandable concern, and in fact ribs are often broken. A cadaver I worked on in school had broken ribs from CPR. But maybe it will help to look at it this way - if you do CPR you may very well break ribs but you may save the person's life - but if you don't do CPR, the person is going to die. So broken ribs and living is better than intact ribs and dying.

    arleigh likes this.
  17. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Unless your name is Lazarus

    broken ribs may be better than an earlier than necessary appointment at the morgue. : O

    I agree, I think it is a matter of which is the lesser of two evils....broken ribs that are painful but which will ultimately heal....or cardio pulmonry failure, for which there is no recovery, unless you lived 2000 or so years ago and your name was Lazarus.

    Although sharp points of bone may damge the lungs and potentially cause a pneumothorax (callapsed lung....also sometimes called a sucking chest wound), the other hazard is the patient suffering from hypoxia due to the painfulness of breathing with broken ribs. This may perhaps be alleviated in part by pain management and by oxygen therapy.

    It should be noted that oxygen therapy is not without its own suite of hazards and risks, and may not be a readily available resource in the event of a long term / TEOTWAWKI disaster environment.

    I am aware of a case where the heart attack victim was found unresponsive in bed, and CPR was commenced with the patient still on the bed. Because of the "give" in the mattress, the force necessary to enable adequate heart stimulation also caused bone fractures to some ribs. I understand that the patient survived the experience, and as grateful as they undoubtedly were to be alive, would have possibly appreciated the indignity of being dragged to the floor and have been given CPR against a hard surface. Something to think upon.

    Oxygen therapy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  18. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Technically speaking, a punctured lung is not an open chest wound (sucking chest wound). It is treated differently. Long term treatments for such a wound are difficult. It is entirely possible for it to heal on its own. The emergency treatment is needle decompression.

    Follow the center of the clavicle down some three finger widths and insert a 14ga needle at a 90 degree angle. Remove the needle, leave the catheter.

    A sucking chest wound should be treated by first sealing the wound (don't forget the exit wound too). Then, you treat for pneumothorax as described above if necessary (difficulty breathing, tranchea appears out of line- from air compressing organs to one side of the body).


    These three haven't changed is years for a reason. We can worry about brokern ribs when your breathing again.
    Witch Doctor 01 likes this.
  19. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Thankyou for pointing out the difference

    The distinction between the two may appear minor but the difference in treatments are not. Technical differences are important.....thank you for pointing out the difference.
  20. Hispeedal2

    Hispeedal2 Nay Sayer

    Let me clarify:

    pneumothorax= needle decompression

    open chest wound= seal, then maybe needle decompression (not always needed)
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