Guest Blogger: Pat Tucker
I have met two people in my entire life who have been saved by CPR. Both of them beautiful young boys who understood at their tender ages that they would not be alive today without someone bringing them back to life with CPR. They both seem to have a special sense of their own mission, and that they need to pay back for the priceless gift of a second chance at life that they were given.
May 21, 2008, Erik Jackson, just a 2-year-old toddler, fell down a hole filled with 3 feet of water. He was dead. He had no pulse. But because CPR was used on Erik until he reached the hospital, he is a healthy, happy, and bright 8-year-old today. “When you save a child’s life, it has a ripple effect . . . it literally changes history,” his father, Bruce Jackson passionately stated at a conference where he recounted the miracle of Erik’s life.
June 1, 2009, at 5 years of age, Cody Fitzpatrick was not a strong swimmer when he went to the neighborhood pool with his cousins and brother. The next thing his aunt saw was Cody sunk at the bottom of the pool. Thanks to the bystander who performed CPR on Cody as soon as he was pulled out of the water, Cody is a precocious, 10-year-old who loves jiu jitsu today. “Everyone needs to know CPR because most likely the person you will have to save is one you love!” his mother, Jami Fitzpatrick reminds people when sharing the miracle of Cody’s life.
August 15, 2002, Cady Tucker, 11, took the brunt of a massive three car crash caused by a driver with uncontrolled blood sugar, was partially ejected from the car though seat-belted in, her head hit the door pillar, her left hand upraised to protect herself from the dashboard coming at her, locked in that position after her wrist snapped in two. Because of lack of awareness, when a bystander felt no pulse and told the EMT assigned to Cady, “She’s already gone,” the EMT turned around and walked away. No one provided CPR. No one provided emergency medical treatment.
Three different scenarios. Two miracles. One failure to try.
I am Cady’s mother. I know each day the anguish of the death of an only child, made even worse by my child receiving no help. Could Cady have been saved—even long enough for me to get to the scene and touch her alive, tell her I love her, and hold her? I will never know. But what I am certain of is that if CPR had been performed, I would have the blessing of knowing that someone had tried to save her life, that what could have been done for my daughter was done—regardless of the outcome.
There is nothing more valuable than a human life. Parents know we value most the lives of our children. If it were only Erik and Cody given the second chance at life to grow up and make this world a better place, it would be enough for me to shout from the rooftops that, as Cody’s mother said, “Everyone needs to know CPR!” But the reality is 40,000 lives could be saved each year in this country by combining CPR with use of an automated external defibrillator (AED).
Just last month, a co-worker and friend of mine succumbed to sudden cardiac arrest at work, another co-worker performed CPR, and another co‑worker operated the AED. Tragically, my co-worker did not survive, but her family and co-workers have the assurance that everything that could have been done for her was done, and I know the unquantifiable difference that makes. But, even more importantly, and read this very carefully, 80% of the time, sudden cardiac arrest occurs at home, so the life you most likely would save would be someone you love very much. What could be more important than knowing CPR? When your loved one’s life is on the line, nothing. Absolutely nothing.