Peter Choi ’18
Would you know what to do if your friend, child, or a stranger went into cardiac arrest? Calling 911 would undoubtedly be your primary goal, but before medical professionals arrive, performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) would greatly increase the chance of survival of the victim.
On Friday, February 17, Brooklyn Technical High School enforced that all students were mandated to participate in practicing hands only CPR in their physical education classes in order to implement awareness of the live saving practice. CPR is a combination of chest compressions rescue breathing to help keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain and other vital organs until more definitive medical treatment can restore a normal heart rhythm. All the cells in the body require oxygen to survive. They also require a good supply of nutrients and the rapid removal of waste products. Oxygen and nutrients are carried around the body in your blood, which is pumped by your heart. In your lungs, oxygen enters your bloodstream and carbon dioxide is removed as a waste product in a process known as gas exchange.
If a cardiac arrest occurs, blood will stop circulating around the body. Breathing will also cease as well though it may not stop completely for several minutes. Without a supply of oxygen, the cells in the body start to die. After about 4 – 5 minutes of the absence of oxygen, brain cells will begin dying leading to brain damage and death.
Contrary to popular belief, cardiac arrest is not interchangeable with the term “heart attack.” Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating as a whole, whereas a heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart stops and thus causes a section of the heart muscle to begin to die.
When an individual goes into cardiac arrest, his or her survival depends greatly on receiving immediate CPR from a bystander. However, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), less than one-third of these individuals receive the help they need, because most bystanders are reluctant to perform mouth to mouth resuscitation or are untrained in performing CPR.
The necessity of performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a stranger creates a feeling of reluctance so pervasive that researchers decided to study whether rescue breathing is really necessary. A major study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in July 2010, clearly demonstrated that chest compressions alone were as good or even better than combining them with rescue breathing.
Alvin Crighton ’19 states, “CPR is the difference of saving a life and losing a life. A person’s life depends on your decision of taking action or remaining oblivious.”
Samantha Fang ’19 states, “Learning CPR is an invaluable life skill. Just knowing the basics can be enough to make a difference and help save someone’s life. Everyone should be informed and aware of ways they can help in life-threatening situations.”
Mr. Kono, a physical education teacher helping students perform CPR at Brooklyn Tech, states, “CPR is an important technique, deciding the life or death of another person’s life. I would like to train everyone in Brooklyn Tech to be aware of what to do during a life threatening situation.” He feels strongly that students should be able to actively intervene and help people during life threatening periods and that no one should be left unaware of CPR.