Its odd how topics for blogs suggest themselves, for example, I’ve been meaning to write about today’s topic for a good few weeks, but other things have cropped up to knock it down the list. Then I decided that today would be the day, only for something else to happen which displaced it once more, but then literally minutes later something happened that put this one back front and centre. Anyway, enough insight into how I’m inspired to write these tedious missives, and on with the theme at hand-
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In my job they make us do First Aid training, I think its actually a legal requirement and its quite useful, as we do have cause to use it on a fairly regular basis, and also, its just good to know what to do.
One of the things they show us how to do is CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation- or that thing you see on TV where they give the kiss of life and pump a dude’s chest) and recently this was a minor news story. See, the British Heart Foundation, my old enemy, have made a cracking little add that teaches people how to do “Hands-only” CPR.
The ad features one of my all time heroes Vinnie Jones, and is quite funny as well as informative, plus its always nice to hear the Bee Gees:
Apparently there were a few complaints from people saying that it was misleading and taught incorrect techniques but the BHF rubbished these claims and said that while those properly trained in CPR should continue to use the kiss of life technique they thought that the advert would make people more inclined to step up as it removed the mouth-to-mouth bit.
I agree with this, I laughably heard someone describe the ad as homophobic because of Jones’ “You only kiss your missus on the lips” line, but I think it makes a valid point, the whole mouth-to-mouth thing is a little awkward and might put you off, or at least cause you to hesitate.
On one of my training days the instructor asked what might stop members of the public from doing CPR, and I replied that the way the person looked might effect your response, explaining that you’d be far more inclined to give Cheryl Cole the kiss of life than you would a homeless person.
The rest of my class looked at me like I was some kind of horrible, shallow bastard, but I guarntee its a factor in response. If you’re confronted by a tramp who’s passed out are you really going to be keen to go lips-to-lips with them? With them covered in grime and who-knows what? Its not nice but every person would have the same worry about their own safety.
Its moments like that where I wish I was in a Woody Allen movie and could have dragged in the dirtiest tramp I could have found and gone “Okay, then, go to it!” to my classmates, who probably agreed but didn’t want to look bad.
So removing what is probably a major factor in people’s hesitation or reluctance to get involved can only be a good thing.
The thing is having read Sirens earlier this year, I’m aware that sometimes CPR is not enough to save a life, and while its better than just staring at some poor bugger who’s stopped breathing, its not a guarantee of survival.
Its also bloody hard work. Seriously, when you do the training you’re given a chance to have a go on a dummy, and you see just how tough it is. Because of the pace of the compressions you have to do its exhausting, and I don’t think anyone could really keep going for too long before they had to stop.
This was a bit of a shock to me when I first did the training, as my only experience of CPR was of seeing it done on Baywatch when it appeared that all it took was a couple of breaths and a bit of light chest prodding. Although, if Pamela Anderson was in the vicinity I think my will to live would be greatly increased.
Anyway, after the training I always have the same worry- how much of this will I actually remember when the chips are down? I mean, I pay attention during the course, but there’s a difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it when under pressure.
I’d like to think I’d cope fairly well, one of the good things I’ve got out of my job is the realisation that I’m actually quite good at staying calm and thinking clearly in stressful situations, so I hope this would be the same.
Which brings me to this morning, which was the closest I’ve ever come to having to put my training into use in the real world.
I’d just finished my run, and as I walked back I saw that there were a few cars stopped and there seemed to be a problem. A bloke had collapsed. I headed over, thinking I might be able to help out, as I got closer though, it seemed that the situation was well in hand- a lady had him in the recovery position and a bloke was on the phone to the ambulance.
Not wanting to just be another gawker, I headed off, although I did feel a little bit guilty and glanced back about 30 seconds later, but the ambulance was just arriving, so it appeared that he was in the best possible hands and I hope that the PTB look out for him.
Should I have felt guilty? I mean, I did walk over and see if I could be of any help, but should I have said to the lady “I’ve had first aid training” and helped her out? Maybe she was stressing out or worried she was doing it wrong, and might have needed some reassurance and support. On one level I know I didn’t do anything wrong, and that I did check that I could help, but I can’t shake the feeling that I should have done more.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO