Campaign to arrest cardiac attacks for Queenslanders
It’s a deadly statistic but out of every 100 Queenslanders, not in hospital and who have a cardiac arrest, less than 30 are saved.
Queensland Ambulance Service believes this number of deaths can be cut if there is someone on hand who knows how to administer the emergency medical procedure known as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
And it has now launched a campaign called CPR Awareness throughout our retirement villages, schools, clubs and our local communities, offering 90-minute instruction sessions with ongoing regular practice groups to maintain skills. Cost is a gold coin donation donated to local ambulance groups.
Caloundra paramedic clinical support officer, David Lane, is a veteran with 20 years’ experience of seeing people suffer cardiac arrest (sudden abrupt loss of heart function) and arriving too late to save them.
"Any time over 10 minutes can be fatal," he told Seniors. "The only time I have ever seen a return of spontaneous circulation is when someone has done CPR before we got there or when I was on the scene.
"I know of hundreds of cases where we haven’t managed to get the person back because nothing has been done earlier."
David said there were 14 ambulance stations on the Coast. "We cover a wide area from Beerwah to Gympie and Rainbow Beach to Nambour. It can take more than 20 minutes to answer a call."
He said in 2013-2014 QAS attended 1284 cardiac arrests. When the arrest was witnessed by a paramedic there was a 46.1% survival rate but when a paramedic wasn’t present there was a 26.1% survival rate.
"While these figures are across all age groups, it is noticeable our older population dominates. As we age our arteries get clogged and a cardiac arrest is more likely to happen."
Six steps to saving life
The ability to save someone’s life is at your fingertips or, rather, the heel of your hand.
Caloundra paramedic David Lane says most cardiac arrests take place within the family or among friends and recommends the following actions until the ambulance arrives:
Danger: Make sure there is no danger to yourself, the patient, or bystanders.
Response: Check for a response by talking to the patient and touching them.
Send For Help: If the patient is not responding, send for help by calling 000 for an ambulance.
Airway: Check that the patient's airway is clear.
Breathing: If patient is not breathing normally start CPR with compressions.
Compressions: Place the heel of your hand on the lower part of the patient’s sternum and compress the chest to a depth of 1/3 of the chest or about 5 cm (2 inches) at a rate of 100 compressions a minute.
For more information on CPR Awareness contact your local ambulance station officer-in-charge or call David on 0438 527 713.