Special Topic: Bystander CPR

Life is funny sometimes. You think you have everything figured out, and then something happens to throw everything off balance.
CPRI experienced one of those moments last year on vacation. We boarded a full plane in Charlotte, and all was well until a man a few rows up went into cardiac arrest. People began panicking, jumping seats, and yelling for help. Thankfully, there was an Army medic on the flight who laid the man on the plane’s floor and administered CPR. The medic and one other person performed chest compressions (bystander CPR) for nearly 15 minutes until EMTs arrived with a defibrillator to revive the man. The man was breathing when they carried him off the plane, but we don’t know if he recovered.

This experience was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever witnessed. Most passengers couldn’t help, so we just stayed out of the way. We were helpless and worthless. However, it’s often situations like these that change us and make us take action.

This week, I participated in a hands-only CPR class to avoid that from happening again. And I learned that chest compressions are extremely labor intensive, so the more people who know how to do them, the better off we are in an emergency. Once I learned how physically challenging CPR is, I had even more respect for the medic who performed them for nearly 10 minutes without a break. In our class, we only performed chest compressions for 30 seconds, but it felt like much longer. I also realized I need to work out more and practice on a pillow because I’m not sure I’d last two minutes, much less 10!

As much as I hate to think of my life in someone else’s hands, we need to know what to do in this situation. This class was less than an hour and well worth the time. Now, if I’m in an emergency situation, I can help instead of sitting there doing nothing.

I won’t preach often, but this week reminded me that life is short, and we could go at any minute. Things change, we try to control everything, but there’s no controlling nature. I urge our RevPub readers to take a quick class and watch the video below. There’s no germ swapping. If you break a bone, it will heal. The important thing to remember is you may save their life – and one day you may need the same.

Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!