"Ordinary people" performing CPR
helped the Fredericksburg
Fire Department save three
lives in three days, officials said.
At a fire station in
downtown Fredericksburg, Va., the trucks roll on about 10 calls per day, and
most calls are fairly routine. Months could go by without an opportunity for
what they call a “save” -- reviving a patient on the edge of death -- so last
week’s three saves were unusual.
“Three in three days, I
haven’t seen that in 20 years,” Sgt. Jay Skinner said.
On March 19 at the Amtrak
station, an elderly woman collapsed on the train, and passengers started CPR.
Amtrak personnel and bystanders also hooked up the automated external
defibrillator (AED) to the victim, though a shock wasn’t needed. An IV and
drugs produced a pulse.
On March 20, a woman in her
60s went into respiratory distress at a downtown restaurant. A 911 dispatcher
gave the bystanders CPR instructions. When firefighter Mike Athenry arrived, he
“We attached our AED to the
patient,” he said. “The AED allowed us to shock the victim. One shock was
delivered. We started CPR again. The AED told us no shock was needed. We
checked for a pulse. We had one.”
Then on March 21, a patient
at a dentist's office went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing. Rescue
crews found the doctor and his staff had already started CPR and attached the
AED, which advised two shocks. The second revived the woman.
“The community definitely
played a part,” said Patricia Derr, of the Fredericksburg Fire Department. “Bystander
CPR is very important. The quicker that they start having someone do
compressions on them, the better their chances of survival.”
Such saves are becoming more
common because CPR guidelines have changed for civilians, Skinner said. With
rapid chest compressions the simpler standard now, more are willing to try CPR.
“It’s amazing,” Skinner said.
“It really is. To see them from the brink of death to actually having a pulse
and breathing again, I mean, that’s what makes this job worth having.”
SOURCE: NBC News