The British Heart Foundation wants to tackle a delicate problem.
It wants more people to use CPR to help in an emergency when a person is suffering from cardiac arrest.
But a recent poll in Britain shows that people tend not to perform CPR because they are not sure how to do it.
A lack of training and a phobia of the mouth-to-mouth part of CPR seems to be responsible.
So, the foundation has launched a new campaign.
Anchor Marco Werman talks to Maura Gillespie, spokesperson for the British Heart Foundation.
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Marco Werman: Finally today, the British Heart Foundation wants to tackle a delicate problem. It wants more people to use CPR to help in an emergency when a person is suffering from cardiac arrest. But a recent poll in Britain shows that people tend not to perform CPR because they are not sure how to do so. A lack of training and a phobia of the mouth-to-mouth part of CPR seem to be responsible. So, the Foundation has launched a new campaign. Here is tough-guy actor Vinnie Jones explaining how to help someone without giving the “kiss of life.”
Vinnie Jones: There are times in life where being tough comes in handy. Say some geezer collapses in front of you. What’d you do? We need a volunteer that ain’t breathing. Here’s one I made earlier. First off, you call 999. Then, no kissing. You only kiss your missus on the lips. You push hard and fast here on the Sovereign to stayin’ alive. ["Stayin' Alive" playing] Remember, call 999, push hard and fast to Stayin’ Alive. Hands-only CPR, it’s not hard as it looks.
Werman: Mm-hm. 999, of course, is the British version of 911. Maura Gillespie is Head of Policy for the British Heart Foundation. Maura, “Stayin’ Alive” is a catchy song, not to mention a great tag-line for the campaign. Is this campaign happening because people don’t know CPR, because people are just such germaphobes that they don’t want to give mouth-to-mouth?
Maura Gillespie: We did a study in the U.K. and we asked people why they weren’t helping in emergency situations. Over half the respondents said that they didn’t have a full knowledge of how to do CPR; they were a bit worried; couldn’t remember how to do it. A fifth of the people that responded said that they were worried about catching infectious diseases from doing the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation part. So, giving them the hands-only CPR as an option seemed like a really logical thing to do.
Werman: Is the rhythm and the beats of “Stayin’ Alive” medically appropriate for this procedure?
Gillespie: So, the procedure is to push hard and fast in the center of the chest at least twice a second. So, that’s about 100-120 beats per minute and “Stayin’ Alive” fits perfectly with that amount of beats. It’s also catchy and it will give some people something to remember in the future because they might not need this skill tomorrow but they might need it in years to come.
Werman: Is it enough just to do hands-only CPR? I’ve got to confess, this is the first time I’ve ever heard about hands-only CPR.
Gillespie: The hands-only CPR is for an adult who you see suddenly collapse, because they’ve got enough oxygen in their blood. So, if you keep pressing the chest, manually making the heart beat and push the blood around the body, they can survive until medical help arrives. But for instances such as drowning, then you would need the kiss of life as well to deliver oxygen to those people.
Werman: So, just to get back to the number of beats per minute in this song, there’s been criticism that chest compressions given to the beat of a song end up being too shallow and not as effective. How do you respond to that?
Gillespie: We’re absolutely telling people to press hard as well as fast, and we’ve done a training video on our website where Vinnie does a great job and shows you exactly what to do.
Werman: What are other factors that people have listed in the poll for why they would not administer CPR?
Gillespie: The people have been scared of being sued in case they cause harm. So, they’re scared that they might break a rib, but it’s better a broken rib than being dead. In the U.K. there’s never been an incident of someone being successfully sued for doing the wrong thing. So, we’re really encouraging people and trying to empower them to give it a go and get involved.
Werman: Maura Gillespie, Head of Policy for the British Heart Foundation; they’ve just launched a new campaign for hands-only CPR. Maura, very good to speak with you and thanks for reminding us of staying alive.
Gillespie: Thank you.
["Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees playing].
Werman: How deep is your pulse? Brothers Gibb there with the tune to do CPR to. From the Nan and Bill Harris Studios at WGBH in Boston, I am Marco Werman. We’ll be back tomorrow.
["Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees playing].
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