‘Bystander CPR' helps save Mustang woman

BY SONYA COLBERG scolberg@opubco.com Published: January 18, 2011

— Scott Badgett felt restless.

He couldn't really say why, but the associate pastor gulped down his lunch at home and then got back to Chisholm Heights Baptist Church within 30 minutes.

In the church gym, church preschool coordinator Martha Rhodes took a lunch break with others who volunteered in the kitchen. They were kidding around, talking about being tired. As if to demonstrate how tired she really was, Rhodes slumped against a friend's shoulder. Everyone laughed at her antics.

But the laughter turned to gasps of terror.

When they realized she had knocked over her glass of iced tea, they knew she wasn't joking around.

Somebody had the presence of mind to call the main office, where Badgett heard the cry over the speaker phone.

“Call 911! It's Martha, and it's bad!”

Badgett heard enough.

“I just took off running to the gym,” he said.

“By the time I got there, you could see that Martha was white. Her lips were already blue.”

Rhodes' heart had stopped. Some people were scrambling around in fear, and someone had the 53-year-old Rhodes on her knees in the floor.

“Somebody help me lay her out flat!” Badgett yelled. Badgett would have a hand in saving someone that day. This time, it was physically instead of spiritually.

For the first time on a human, Badgett began “bystander CPR,” in which he did chest compressions. He learned cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a mannequin about three decades earlier and got a refresher course about a decade ago.

Hands-only chest compression, without breathing into the victim's mouth, is now recommended by the American Heart Association to help an adult who has suddenly collapsed.

“She was really nonresponsive the whole time,” Badgett said. “I'll be honest. I didn't have much hope at that time.”

He kept doing chest compressions until the Mustang Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services Authority paramedics arrived. EMSA paramedic Kimberly Maze said Rhodes wasn't breathing and had no pulse when they arrived. Probably the difference in Rhodes surviving was continuing the bystander CPR until paramedics were in place to take over, she said.



Q&A on bystander CPR

Q: How does bystander CPR help?

A: It can double or triple someone's chance of surviving cardiac arrest.

Q: What percentage of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims receive bystander CPR?

A: Less than one-third.

Q: How much does the chance of surviving cardiac arrest decline without immediate, effective bystander CPR?

A: Seven to 10 percent per minute.

Q: How should compressions be done?

A: Deep compressions that allow for full chest recoil should be provided at a rate of about 100 per minute, with minimal interruptions.

Q: Who should not receive hands-only CPR?

A: Hands-only CPR should not be used for infants or children, or for adults whose cardiac arrest is from respiratory causes, including drug overdose or near-drowning. Those victims would benefit most from chest compressions and breaths.

Q: How can I learn more?

A: Conventional CPR training is encouraged. EMSA offers free CPR classes. For more information, call 297-7096.

SOURCES: AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION AND EMSA

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