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Smartphone app makes bystanders life-savers

BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) launched PulsePoint this week – a smartphone app that crowd-sources help for sudden cardiac arrest.
Rob Macdonald with Bruce Moffat
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​Rob Macdonald with Bruce Moffat

The PulsePoint app empowers bystanders to become potential life-savers when a cardiac arrest occurs in a public place. 

When a cardiac arrest is reported through 9-1-1, BCEHS dispatchers can send the location to people within a short walking distance (400 metres). Users of the app, who have verified- they have hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, can then attend the patient and begin CPR while paramedics are en route. 

The smartphone alert also shows users a map pinpointing the location of nearby portable public defibrillators; another tool the general public can safely use before paramedics arrive.

By linking with PulsePoint, BCEHS is the first paramedic organization in Canada to have this public notification service province-wide. 

“Rollout of this application province-wide is an excellent example of our health care professionals innovating to improve care for British Columbians,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

“Research has shown that receiving CPR quickly after a sudden cardiac arrest doubles the chances of survival. Bystanders using PulsePoint and CPR, along with BCEHS staff, can now have an even greater impact on saving lives.” 

Currently, the survival rate for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is approximately ten per cent.

Bystander CPR recently saved Rob Macdonald’s life. 

Two weeks ago, Macdonald suffered a heart attack while playing rec hockey at the Pitt Meadows Arena. Macdonald was in cardiac arrest when an opposing player, his teammates and a Zamboni driver came to his rescue. 

Luckily for Macdonald, the opposing player who came to his aid was critical care paramedic Bruce Moffat. Moffat began CPR compressions, and trained others on the scene to continue CPR that ultimately saved Macdonald's life. 

“You don’t need a paramedic to be there to revive you,” said Moffat. "I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. What we need is for more people to learn how to do effective CPR and more access to defibrillators in public areas.”

Macdonald believes that if Bruce wasn’t there, his scenario would have had a completely different outcome. His wife would have been a widow and his children would no longer have a father. 

In 2017, BCEHS paramedics responded to 7,101 cardiac arrests. Bystanders performed CPR in only 25 per cent of these cases.

“This app essentially crowdsources CPR so that the closest available person trained in this life-saving skill gets to the person suffering a cardiac arrest,” said Linda Lupini, executive vice president of BCEHS/PHSA. 

"At BC Emergency Health Services, our paramedics and dispatch staff have long recognized the critical role of bystander CPR. This technology will take us one step further in maximizing our efforts.” 

If you want to participate in this initiative, the Pulsepoint App is available for download from the Apple Store and Google Play Store for iOS and Android OS. 

Learn more about this new initiative.  

BC Ambulance Service; BCEHS; CPR; PulsePoint; patient care; local heroes
SOURCE: Smartphone app makes bystanders life-savers ( )
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