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Only Half of Americans Feel Prepared to Save a Life in Emergencies: Poll
  • Posted May 22, 2024

Only Half of Americans Feel Prepared to Save a Life in Emergencies: Poll

Only about half of Americans feel prepared to help someone during a medical emergency, a new poll finds.

Only 51% of Americans think they would be able to perform hands-only CPR to help someone who's collapsed. Similarly, only 49% feel they could step in and staunch serious bleeding, while 56% said they can help someone who's choking to death.

"Before emergency responders arrive, it's up to us as the public to initiate care,"said Dr. Nicholas Kman, an emergency medicine physician at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and a clinical professor of emergency medicine at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

"For every minute that passes, the chance of survival drops, and if they do survive, there's less chance of a good neurologic outcome,"Kman added in a university news release.

Hands-only CPR is essential to saving the life of someone who's suffering from cardiac arrest. About 60% to 80% of people die before reaching the hospital, and bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates, doctors 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. "Like with any skill, practice builds confidence. If we don't practice it, we lose that skill."

Training to stop serious bleeding also can safe the lives of people who've been deeply wounded in household mishaps or car crashes, researchers added.

"Initiating hemorrhage control is something that you have to do very quickly,"Kman said. "We know from different studies that a patient with major bleeding can die in two to five minutes, depending on the location of the bleed."

And learning the Heimlich maneuver is critical to saving a person's life if they're choking on food or an object. 

"Somebody who's choking will eventually run out of oxygen, collapse and have a cardiac arrest,"Kman said. Lack of oxygen also will quickly lead to brain damage.

Training for these lifesaving skills is available in-person and online through many different local organizations and employers, Kman said.

"We're responsible for each other,"Kman said. "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."

The Ohio State University poll involved 1,005 people surveyed between April 5 and 7.

More information

The American Red Cross has more about first aid training.

SOURCE: Ohio State University, news release, May 22, 2024

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