Approximately Half of Americans Not Ready to Help in Medical Emergencies

If you’re taking a walk along the park and see someone collapse with no consciousness, what will you do? Learning some steps can eventually help you save a life. A new poll revealed that approximately half of Americans are not ready to help during medical emergencies.

American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and Morning Consult found that approximately 76 percent of individuals in America are ready to help during emergencies by contacting 911, and only half feel comfortable providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Around 47 percent of poll responders said they feel ready to utilize tourniquets to help with alarming bleeding, and the same percentage feel ready to move individuals in medical emergencies to a safer environment. Around 29 percent of responders said they are prepared to operate an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

"A medical emergency can happen at any time and quick action by a bystander can be the difference between life or death," said president of ACEP Christopher S. Kang, MD, FACEP. "Everyone can learn some easy steps to take so that they can help in an emergency."

Those with at least some type of emergency training said they are ready to help when required. Around 83 percent of trained adults said they will perform medical help while waiting for medical professionals to arrive.

Cardiac arrest, which is when the heart stops abruptly, blood does not flow through the brain and organs, leading to critical crisis. Without sufficient blood flow, brain cells can start dying in a couple of minutes. The serious condition requires immediate professional help.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute said around nine in 10 cardiac arrests that happen outside of hospitals are lethal. Despite unfortunate outcomes in many cardiac arrests, CPR can genuinely help those undergoing cardiac arrest in the first couple of minutes. It can double, or even triple the survival rates, per CDC.

Since cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack, which is when the blood flow to the heart is clogged yet they have consciousness, it is important to know when to perform CPR or not. Those experiencing a heart attack should not be given CPR unless they have lost consciousness.

If you see someone undergoing cardiac arrest, which can look like a loss of consciousness, collapse, no breathing or pulse, it is important to call 911 and stand by the victim. "Rapid response significantly increases the chances a person survives an emergency like cardiac arrest," continued Dr. Kang.

"Most cardiac arrests that take place outside of a hospital happen inside the home. Knowing how to give CPR or use an AED could save somebody very close to you." ACEP is collaborating with the American Red Cross on Until Help Arrive, an educational program to guide civilian bystanders to provide help during emergencies, to make sure more individuals can help out in emergency situations.

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