I know most of you have a very keen awareness about the need for CPR training - why else would you be reading the American Heart Association's You're the Cure blog? I recently had an experience that really crystallized how important it is that we're all educated in this lifesaving skill. Last week, a colleague of ours who shares office space with the AHA here in Manhattan had a health scare. She sat down at her desk and almost immediately, her world went topsy-turvy. She became extremely dizzy, felt flushed, and had some back pain. Her office mates, ran over to where the AHA staff sit and asked if anyone knew CPR. I can't tell you grateful I was that I've been trained! I headed over and kept her company while we waited for EMS to arrive. Thank goodness she remained conscious the entire time; it gave us plenty of time to chat about our goal to improve CPR awareness in the city.
In this case, we were able to clearly track the timeline for EMS to arrive since she had looked at her computer's clock right before feeling sick. Her colleagues called 9-1-1 at 4:20pm. Guess what time EMS arrived to her side? 4:37pm. God forbid we had been dealing with a more serious emergency, like a cardiac arrest! For every minute that passes, your chance of surviving decreases by 10%. After just 10 minutes, if CPR isn't administered, you're in serious trouble!
The 9-1-1 dispatcher was told it was a possible heart-related situation which would put her in a Level 1 incident (most urgent). EMS would rush to the scene. However, our office is in midtown. Traffic is always a nightmare around here, but it gets especially bad around rush hour. And as we always like to remind people...it's one thing to get to the curb in a short amount of time; it's another concern to get up to the 18th floor of our building with all the necessary equipment. This is why everyone - kids, adults, emergency personnel and every bystander on the street - should be trained in CPR. If someone suffered a cardiac arrest, would you know what to do? Would someone nearby know what to do if you were a victim?
I'm happy to report that our colleague is back in the office and doing well. She's gone through some tests but is still waiting for a diagnosis. I spoke with her today and she's keeping tabs on her blood pressure (which was extremely high during her incident.) I am grateful that she agreed to let me tell her story to all of you. I hope it inspires you to take action on our alerts in the "Action Center" so we can make sure we train all NY students in CPR before they graduate from high school!