November 11, 2013 | by

Here’s how to save a life

Daniel and Charlette SandersAfter Scott Hansen’s heart gave out last year, strangers used its power to give him another chance at life. When Bill Pelow’s heart stopped in 2011, Daniel Velazquez became his lifeline because of it.

Charlette Sanders isn’t a widow today and her children have a father because she learned the lifesaving technique during an emergency conversation with 911 operator Amy Breitenbach.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, better known as CPR, the only known method of keeping someone alive until medically necessary treatment can be administered, saves tens of thousands of lives in heart-related crises annually in the United States alone.

But as wonderful as that is, it is also true that tens of thousands of other Americans die because CPR isn’t used. The American Heart Association reports that less than one-third of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims — there are about 400,000 each year — receive CPR from a bystander.

David Slattery, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue’s medical director, said studies show that Americans find intervening “very scary” because they’re not medically trained and that fear often paralyzes them.

Considering that cardiac arrest survival falls an estimated 7 percent to 10 percent for every minute without CPR and that it takes an average of four to six minutes across the country for rescue personnel to arrive, the low rate of bystander CPR plays a critical role on outcomes.

Less than 8 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive.

Read the full post by Paul Harasim at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.