Basic life-saving skills and why everyone should have them

​The opening episode of brand new Channel 5 documentary Critical Condition saw 84-year old Alan brought into our major trauma centre receiving CPR.

A passerby performing CPR provided him with invaluable extra minutes before the ambulance arrived and took him to hospital.

Dr Chris Pickering, UHNM Clinical Lead for Emergency Medicine leads the case as our team fight to save his life. Passionate about resuscitation and the ability for it to be done well, Chris regularly instructs on courses teaching others how to manage a cardiac arrest and how to run trauma scenarios. Here he talks about the importance of this basic life-saving skill and why everyone should have it.

"In the time it takes the emergency services to arrive to the scene, the victim's chance of survival is rapidly decreasing. It can often be too late which is why bystander CPR is so important. 

"People die every day from cardiac arrest, drowning, smoke inhalation and other causes as a result of family members, friends and general public who do not know how to respond to an emergency situation effectively.

""Many people think that calling 999 is enough to help the victim. Unfortunately, this is not the case as treatment is needed immediately for the best chance of survival.

"CPR involves a combination of chest compressions to keep circulation going and rescue breaths that will inflate the lungs. Even if you are untrained in CPR using rescue breathing, you can still help the victim by using hands-only CPR. The benefits of CPR by far outweigh the risks as the victim will be able to recover from any injuries or bruising occurred as a result of resuscitation. 

"You never know when you might find yourself in a situation where you are required to save a person's life. CPR is a simple skill that can take just a few short hours to learn which is why I am really pleased to see the commitment for basic life-saving skills to be taught in schools.

"By acquiring this skill, anybody can be equipped to save a person's life or potentially keep them alive until we can take over."

To find out more about CPR and where to learn how to save a life please see here.​

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