When performing CPR, it is important to perform the steps correctly and follow the protocol and procedures as outlined in a certified CPR course. But where is the best place to perform CPR as a resident of Miami?
CPR should always be performed in a way that is safest for the victim and for the rescuer. Still, there are factors to consider which will protect you and anyone else involved. In this article, we will explore just that.
The Importance of Performing CPR in the Right Location
Whenever there is a cardiac arrest victim, any bystander must perform CPR and adhere to the “Chain of Survival” as soon as possible, as it can increase their survival chances. Still, providing CPR in the right location and in proper conditions is important for several reasons.
- Access to medical equipment: Many public spaces are starting to keep AEDs (automatic external defibrillators) on site. If you are in a gym, shopping center, public transportation depo, or any other location that keeps equipment on hand, this can increase the chances of survival for the victim. Medical equipment should include PPE (personal protective equipment) as this is necessary to keep the environment sanitary and both bystander and victim safe. If PPE is unavailable, you may refrain from mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and provide hands-only CPR.
- Safety of the victim and rescuer: CPR should always be performed on a flat surface. The space should also be clear of any debris that could be harmful to you or the victim. This might include downed power lines, chemicals, etc.
- Legal considerations: Laws such as the Good Samaritan Law are designed to protect rescuers from legal liability when they act in good faith and without reckless endangerment to the victim. Fortunately, Miami and the state of Florida adhere to this law, but you must always take steps to protect yourself. If medical professionals are around, their help should be enlisted as soon as possible.
- Availability of medical professionals: Medical professionals have a moral and ethical obligation to attend to the victim and have greater protections under the law than laypeople do. Always alert a medical professional as soon as possible.
The Best Places to Perform CPR
Emergencies can happen at home, in public spaces, or in healthcare facilities. For this article, we will assume your experience is as a layperson rather than a medical professional. If an emergency occurs in a healthcare center, alert medical personnel as soon as possible, as they have extensive training in CPR.
Let’s take a look at these locations and the benefits and risks of CPR in each.
Generally, when CPR is performed at home, the victim will be someone you know. A spouse, child, friend, or neighbor, perhaps. This will take some of the guesswork out of the situation, and you can proceed with giving life-saving CPR to the person in need. Benefits of performing CPR at home:
- Quick response: Since most cardiac events do happen at home, you’ll be able to act quickly until medical teams arrive
- Familiar surroundings: Being in a familiar environment can help to lower stress and anxiety levels and may help you to perform CPR better
- Access to equipment: If someone in your home has a heart condition, you may have already made the decision to have an AED in the home and can use it to help the victim.
- Family Support: An emergency is always a stressful event. If family members are nearby, they can assist you in alerting medical teams, getting an AED ready, getting the victim to flat ground, and providing emotional support.
- Reduced legal liability: Good Samaritan laws help to protect you as long as you have acted in good faith and without gross negligence. If a DNR (do not resuscitate) is in place, you may likely be aware of it.
Risks of performing CPR at home:
- Personal injury: There are complications associated with CPR, such as broken ribs and punctured lungs. If CPR is not performed correctly, these risks are increased.
- Infection: If CPR is performed without PPE, saliva, blood, and vomit can be exchanged and lead to infection.
- Emotional trauma: Performing such a procedure on a loved one can be even more stressful.
- Failure to revive: If the victim does not survive, the rescuer can feel a greater sense of guilt.
If you are performing CPR in public, it may be a stranger or someone you know. Benefits of performing CPR in public places:
- Increased chance of survival: If you administer CPR to someone in public, you are helping to keep oxygen-rich blood circulating to their brain until medical teams arrive.
- Decreased chances of brain damage: Acting immediately means the brain is receiving lifesaving care. The brain starts to die in as little as 4-6 minutes after cardiac arrest.
- Increased awareness: Your life-saving efforts can inspire bystanders to pursue their CPR certifications and help save more people.
Risks of performing CPR in public spaces:
- Personal safety: If the location has danger or aggressive bystanders, the situation could become unsafe.
- Exposure to infection: Again, it is important to use PPE. If it is not available, you can practice compression-only CPR.
- Legal liability: if there is a DNR in place, you will probably be unaware of it. The risks associated with the Good Samaritan law are greater outside the home. Failure to act could be deemed as gross negligence, and litigation can occur due to injury or failure to revive. Check the legal guidelines for Miami and Florida.
- Emotional trauma and failure to revive: The stressful situation or the loss of the victim can be psychologically difficult for the rescuer.
Factors to Consider
There are a few precautionary measures you need to take into account, and you’ll make the emergency situation safer for everyone.
Safety and Accessibility
If there is broken glass, fire, or traffic, attempt to relocate the victim to a safer location. They should be on flat, firm ground, and there should be enough space for you to kneel next to them.
Availability of Emergency Services
Emergency services should be called immediately, but they need to be able to get to you. Make sure your location will allow EMS to access you.
Privacy and Comfort
Try to maintain some level of privacy in order to reduce stress for yourself and the victim, and enlist help from bystanders to call emergency services.
If you are performing CPR and the recipient’s culture is different than yours, you should be aware of some considerations. Some cultures process death differently and may be adverse to CPR. They may frown upon male/female contact between those who are not married. Language barriers can make it difficult for them to understand what is happening.
If possible, enlist the assistance of a translator. Their religious differences may preclude them from receiving CPR and other medical interventions. And some cultures have a general mistrust of medical personnel. It is important to be aware and respectful of the differences.
It might now always be possible to move a victim. The important part is to do your best for the victim according to your CPR training and the procedures required. Try to perform CPR in a safe location for you and the victim. The ground should be flat and solid. Make use of available PPE and medical equipment such as AEDs. Minimize risk to yourself and the victim by being mindful of legal risks, safe location, and the support of medical personnel.
Miami is fortunate that Florida recognizes the Good Samaritan law, so you are legally protected as long as you act in good faith and avoid gross negligence. Following these guidelines will help to ensure you are physically protected.
Regarding the emotional risks, it is important to remember that not everyone can be saved. Obtaining your CPR certification, keeping it up to date, and practicing the procedures can help to reduce risks for everyone in the community. Together with medical professionals, you can help to make the community healthier.