In a life-or-death situation, a basic understanding of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR as it is more commonly known, can make all the difference. Netcare hospitals and Netcare 911 in KwaZulu-Natal recently teamed up at a number of shopping malls in the province in order to share this vital lifesaving knowledge with more than a thousand members of the public.
“CPR is a resuscitation technique that performs the same action as the heartbeat and breathing to maintain the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain, thereby preventing brain damage when the heart stops beating. It has many applications, including for heart attacks and near drownings,” says Dr Anchen Laubscher, medical director of Netcare.
“When an emergency arises, every second counts and there is no time to be lost looking in a first-aid book or googling ‘How to perform CPR’. If a person is unconscious, unresponsive and not breathing for themselves, they require immediate help.”
“For this reason, Netcare hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal and Netcare 911 embarked on ‘Project Save a Life’ in order to share this information with the public in shopping centres across the province. Our teams also encouraged members of the public empowered with the basic steps of CPR to pass on what they had learned to their family and friends.”
First aid workshops in CPR were organised by Netcare hospitals and Netcare 911 at various shopping malls around KZN, according to Craig Murphy, regional director of Netcare’s coastal region.
“Our teams were most gratified to reach more than 1000 people, teaching them the basics of CPR, which is enough to potentially save a life, should the need arise,” he notes.
Over 100 members of the public attended Netcare Umhlanga Hospital’s CPR demonstration at La Lucia Mall, 230 attended Netcare Kingsway’s demonstration at Galleria Mall in Amanzimtoti, and over 200 attended the event organised by Netcare St Anne’s Hospital at Cascades Lifestyle Centre in Pietermaritzburg.
Some 250 people attended the event at The Pavilion in Westville, which was a joint event hosted by staff of Netcare St Augustine’s and Netcare Parklands hospitals, and a further 250 attended Netcare Alberlito Hospital’s event at Ballito Junction, while 70 members of the public attended the CPR demonstration organised by Netcare The Bay Hospital at the Boardwalk shopping centre in Richards Bay.
“If you found someone unconscious right now, would you know what to do? If not, it is well worthwhile familiarising yourself with this useful summary of the information imparted to participants of Project Save a Life.”
Steps to saving a life
Get someone to phone an emergency medical services provider, such as Netcare 911 on 082 911, for assistance. If you are alone with the patient, call for help by putting your phone on ‘speaker’ so that you can perform CPR while talking to the operator.
- Lay the unresponsive person on their back on a flat surface.
- Place one of your hands flat in the middle of the person’s chest, and the other hand on top of it.
- Press down hard, compressing the chest by about 5cm, and then release the pressure to allow the heart to refill with blood.
- Continue repeating the chest compressions at a rate of about two compressions per second.
- For every 30 chest compressions, give the person two rescue breaths. If you do not feel it is safe or hygienic to give the breaths just continue with the chest compressions until help arrives.
- Rescue breaths are achieved by pinching the person’s nose closed, tilting their head back and covering their mouth with yours, then exhaling into their mouth until the chest rises.
- Continue to perform CPR until the person revives, or professional help arrives.
“The value of early CPR to the patient’s recovery should not be underestimated. Within a few minutes of being deprived of oxygen, irreversible brain damage starts to set in followed by brain death. This illustrates the importance of learning basic CPR, as time is of the essence in a medical emergency,” Dr Laubscher concludes.
Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare KwaZulu-Natal hospitals and Netcare 911
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
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