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Another shot at life: early CPR plays critical role in patient survival

The 911 caller reported that a person had died. He wasn’t breathing. The caller was hesitant to approach the apparently dead body lying on the ground.
Hands-on-chest CPR
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“Part of the challenge of a situation that presents as tragic and hopeless is attempting to connect to the person on the phone in some way,” says emergency medical dispatcher Ryan Newman. “Then my primary goal is to have the caller get right beside the patient to gather information and take action if necessary.”
After dealing with language barriers and gaining the cooperation of a very anxious caller, Newman gave quick instructions to begin hands-on-chest CPR. The caller did compressions for a full minute and 34 seconds—enough to forever change this patient’s future. 

The caller announced the man had started breathing, and became overcome with emotion when he realized the seemingly hopeless situation had turned around in front of his eyes. Soon after, paramedics arrived on scene and took the patient to hospital. 

Emergency medical dispatchers and call-takers play a critical role in cardiac arrest calls and patient survival. 

“From the moment a call-taker answers a 911 call until paramedics arrive at the patient’s side, the call-taker takes on the role of care provider over the phone. Many times this is the caller’s last hope,” says Jonathan Slattery, patient care communications and planning supervisor at BC Emergency Health Services. 

Sudden cardiac arrest is the unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. The sooner hands-on-chest CPR is started, the better the patient’s chance of survival. Every second counts. 

As soon as a dispatcher recognizes that a patient is likely to be suffering from sudden cardiac arrest, they can immediately ask the caller to position the patient and start chest compressions, as long as it is safe to do so.

Newman played a major role in getting this caller to give effective CPR a try, even though they were convinced the patient was already dead, adds Slattery. 

“Ryan gave this gentleman another shot at life.”
BC Ambulance Service; BCEHS; 9-1-1 response; CPR; dispatch; patient care; staff stories
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