Sunday, February 25, 2007

On the Value of CPR

A truly inspiring story about the value of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR):
"I noticed everybody was standing around him and he was just laying there dead on the floor and nobody was doing anything," DeYoung said. That's when instinct took over for DeYoung, who gets annual CPR training for his Statesville job.

"I don't even remember walking over to him," he said. "I just remember being next to him and starting to do chest compressions."

Meanwhile, a bystander had pulled Edwina away from the blackjack table and pointed to her husband. She rushed over and time seemed to slow down as she saw DeYoung begin CPR.

"It was very surreal, like my own out-of-body experience," Edwina said.

As the scene unfolded, Edwina remembers with crystal clarity that a woman, another partygoer, took a deep breath and said, "Oh my God, it's me" before joining DeYoung at Hal Cowell's side.

The woman was Nancy Flitcraft, who had her own slow motion moment in the instant after Cowell collapsed.

She immediately thought back to the day in 2000 when she and her husband tried to revive a 7-year-old boy who had suffocated in an accident. Flitcraft, a nurse who had performed CPR before on several occasions, had given her husband hurried instructions as they worked over the boy's body, but it was too late. He was gone.

Flitcraft hadn't done CPR since the boy died. Her family had spent years trying to work through their sadness about witnessing the accident and not being able to help. But in the few moments after Cowell collapsed, instinct took over for her, as well.
It's amazing how many people were at this fundraiser, but how few knew (or were willing to acknowledge their knowledge of) CPR.

Although I've seen lots of stories about cardiovascular "saves," this one struck home - perhaps because of Ms. Flitcraft's prior experience with a 7 year old boy. Read the article to see how this story ended.


Addendum: Time is of the essence: time to CPR, time to defibrillation, and the time needed to administer advanced cardiac life support (ACLS).

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