Half of Americans not equipped to provide ‘life-saving treatment’ in a crisis

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Only half the people in the U.S. feel they could be helpful in an emergency situation, a new poll found.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center surveyed a national sample of 1,005 Americans, finding that only 51% of them knew how to perform hands-only CPR if needed.

In cases of serious bleeding, only 49% said they could assist, and 56% said they would be equipped to help someone who was choking.

The data was collected via phone and email from April 5 to April 7 of this year.

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“The key takeaways from our survey are that patient outcomes would improve if the general public learned some basic life-saving measures in the areas of hands-only CPR, choking rescue and bleeding control,” Nicholas Kman, M.D., emergency medicine physician at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and clinical professor of emergency medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, told Fox News Digital.  

“We can save lives while we wait for first responders to arrive.”

Woman calling 911

Only half the people in the U.S. feel they could be helpful in an emergency situation, a new poll has found. (iStock)

“For every minute that passes, the chance of survival drops, and if they do survive, there’s less chance of a good neurologic outcome.”

Data shows that 70% to 80% of cardiac arrests occur in the home and 20% happen in a public place, according to Kman.

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“Outcomes are poor when the arrest is unwitnessed at home,” he told Fox News Digital.  

“Just think, the person with the medical emergency could be your loved one in your house. You may have to provide life-saving treatment until first responders arrive.”

Heimlich maneuver

Data shows that 70% to 80% of cardiac arrests occur in the home and 20% happen in a public place, a researcher said. (iStock)

Based on the survey findings, Kman advised the public to get trained in life-saving measures — particularly hands-only CPR, choking and serious bleeding.

“Look for training that may be offered through community days at hospitals, schools, libraries, community organizations, religious institutions, volunteer groups, festivals and sporting events,” he suggested.

“We’re responsible for each other.”

Organizations and websites such as the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association and Stop The Bleed may offer these courses for free or low cost, Kman noted.  

After learning the skills, it’s important to practice them, the doctor said.

“We would love the public to learn how to do hands-only CPR and practice the skill of doing CPR every six weeks,” Kman said.

Performing CPR

Based on the survey findings, researchers advised people to get trained in life-saving measures, particularly hands-only CPR, choking first-aid and serious bleeding assistance. (iStock)

“As with any skill, practice builds confidence. If we don’t practice it, we lose that skill.”

The OSU survey did have some limitations, Kman acknowledged.

“The survey was a convenience sample of a cross-section of Americans,” he told Fox News Digital. 

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“Most demographics were equally represented, but different regions do better at this than others, and their cardiac arrest results and survival reflect that,” he continued. 

“States and countries that prioritize training the public have higher survival rates.”

Emergency room

“When you’re trained in these lifesaving skills, you’ll know how to recognize the signs that someone needs help and buy time until the [first] responders can get there,” a doctor said. (iStock)

Dr. Kenneth Perry, an emergency department physician in South Carolina, was not involved in the survey but said he was surprised that more people don’t feel unprepared.

“Even for medical professionals, having a medical emergency occur without preparation can be a very stressful event,” he told Fox News Digital. 

“It is very important for people to have basic lifesaving skills.”

“It is very important for people to have basic lifesaving skills.”

The easiest and most helpful skill that people should learn is how to operate an automated external defibrillator (AED). These are located in many public places, such as gyms, malls and even some public walkways, according to Perry.  

“These devices are the best way to save a person who is suffering from cardiac arrest,” he said.

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“If the person has an abnormal heart rhythm that can be brought back to normal with electricity, this device will save that patient.”

This is a very time-sensitive process, however — it must happen as early as possible, the doctor advised. 

“Early defibrillation is directly correlated with the best outcomes for patients who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.”

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Ultimately, Kwan, said, “we’re responsible for each other.”

“When you’re trained in these lifesaving skills, you’ll know how to recognize the signs that someone needs help and buy time until the responders can get there.”

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