So it’s Saturday afternoon and it’s a beautiful day outside. As you and your afternoon dinner date leave the restaurant you feel the sun shining down on you while a cool breeze blows your hair back out of your face. Needless to say, it's a beautiful day. As you’re walking toward your vehicle, discussing what you guys are going to do next, you notice an elderly couple walking ahead of you hand in hand. All of a sudden you see the elderly woman collapse to the ground. You and your date and the elderly woman’s husband are the only ones around…what do you do?
If this has never happened to you this can be a VERY scary situation. But have no fear! I’m going to give you some great info that you can take with you that will probably save someone's life and make you look like a hero.
First, DO NOT PANIC! Know that everything is in God’s hands. You do what you can do, and He will do the rest. It’s your job to remain cool and focused on the task at hand. You’ll find when you stay calm you will be able to think more clearly.
Second, call 911. If there is someone with you, you will get THEM to call 911. Most of the time when someone goes down it is cardiac related. However, it could also be a stroke (brain attack) or a seizure. This being said, ideally, it would be great to get another bystander to go find a defibrillator. So, look around and speak SPECIFICALLY to a person and say “Go find a defibrillator as fast as you can.” If you are alone, don’t worry about the defibrillator. EMS will be bringing one with them. Even if they come to before EMS arrives or before someone comes back with the defibrillator, that person is still going to go the hospital because what just happened.
Third, roll them over onto their back and shake them while shouting “CAN YOU HEAR ME?! ARE YOU OK?!” If no response QUICKLY expose their bare chest and see if they are breathing by noticing if there is any rise and fall of the chest. While you’re watching their chest, your ear is up to their mouth to hear and feel if there is any breathing going on. This should take no longer than 5-10 seconds.
Fourth, check for a pulse. Try placing the pointer and middle fingers of your dominant hand directly to their right side of the throat. If no pulse, it’s time for some action. In this case place your hands on top of each other and begin pushing on their chest to the tune “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees (or 100 beats/minute). Be sure to push deep each time. Right now you might be wondering, “When do I do the mouth to mouth?” You don’t have to! The new guidelines place emphasis on “quality” chest compressions, not rescue breathing.
Fifth and final thing is to continue with chest compressions for as long as you can, for as long as there is no pulse, or until EMS arrives. If someone manages to bring a defibrillator to you, just follow the instructions given to you by the defibrillator after it has been connected to the patient.
So let’s recap:
Begin and continue chest compressions until EMS arrive or you become worn out.
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