‘Bystander CPR' helps save Mustang woman

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

“In my 13 years with EMSA, this was probably the best bystander CPR that I have ever seen,” Maze said.

Paramedics had to use a defibrillator to electrically shock her heart three to four times before Rhodes showed signs of life. Once she was rushed to the hospital, doctors found three blood clots — in her shoulder, arm and heart — had knocked Rhodes to the edge of death.

“They said people like me are usually found dead,” Rhodes said.

Bystanders are sometimes fearful of mouth-to-mouth contact through regular CPR when they witness cardiac arrest, EMSA spokeswoman Lara O'Leary said. That's one reason the heart association's new recommendations on deep compressions without mouth contact are important. And a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows survival rates were higher in the compression-only group, compared with those people who received no bystander help and those who received conventional CPR.

O'Leary said, just as in the Rhodes' case, EMSA paramedics who are dispatchers will advise callers on what to do: How quickly to push on the chest and other details while EMSA medics are en route.

Without bystander CPR, a sudden cardiac arrest victim's chance of survival decreases 7 to 10 percent per minute, studies have found.

A USA Today study shows Oklahoma City and Tulsa are among the top 12 cities in terms of surviving cardiac arrest. O'Leary said the success rate could rise even more as more Oklahomans learn CPR.

Rhodes said she had been encouraging the church to host free CPR classes. After her experience, the church held a CPR class that attracted about 15 students.

Rhodes said every time her husband, Steve, sees Badgett, he thanks the pastor for saving his wife that day in September. She is well now and plans to stand up at a Mustang City Council meeting tonight to thank Maze and her EMSA partner, Mustang firefighters and her pastor for saving her life.

“Words just fall so far short. Words are just words, and it's a heartfelt thing. I can't begin to thank them enough,” Rhodes 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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