People are scared to do CPR on women because of #metoo?

A disturbing study has just been released in the USA. It seems that women are less likely than men to get CPR from a bystander and are more likely to die, and researchers think that a reluctance to touch a woman’s chest might be one reason. An article in The Guardian tells us more. Quote.

The study was funded by the Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health and was discussed on Sunday at an American Heart Association conference in Anaheim. It involved nearly 20,000 cases around the country and is the first to examine gender differences in receiving heart help from the public versus professional responders.

Only 39% of women suffering cardiac arrest in a public place were given CPR versus 45% of men, and men were 23% more likely to survive, the study found.

“It can be kind of daunting thinking about pushing hard and fast on the center of a woman’s chest,” said Audrey Blewer, a University of Pennsylvania researcher who led the study. End quote.

Seriously. Is this what life post the supercilious #Metoo movement looks like? People are too scared to try and save a woman’s life because they are afraid of being accused of inappropriate touching? It seems so. Quote.

Rescuers also may worry about moving a woman’s clothing to get better access, or touching breasts to do CPR, said another study leader, Benjamin Abella, who added that doing CPR properly “shouldn’t entail that” as “you put your hands on the sternum, which is the middle of the chest. In theory, you’re touching in between the breasts.”

“This is not a time to be squeamish because it’s a life and death situation,” Abella said. End quote.

More than 350,000 Americans and around 30,000 Australians each year experience cardiac arrest in settings other than a hospital. I don’t have numbers for New Zealand but I suspect they will be proportionate. In about 90% of these cases, the person will die, but CPR can double or triple survival odds. Quote.

‘Researchers had no information on rescuers or why they may have been less likely to help women. But no gender difference was seen in CPR rates for people who were stricken at home, where a rescuer is more likely to know the person needing help.’

“The findings suggest that CPR training may need to be improved. Even that may be subtly biased toward males – practice mannequins are usually male torsos” Blewer said.

“All of us are going to have to take a closer look at this” gender issue, said Roger White of the Mayo Clinic, who co-directs the paramedic program for the city of Rochester, Minnesota. End quote.

So how many of us actually know what the current method is? I have done plenty of first aid courses and it seems that the preferred process changes pretty much every time I go to one. Internet searches will bring up all the old information as well as the current thinking, so to make life easy for you, here it is in all its simple glory.

Two steps to save a life.

That’s right, just two steps. Call 111 for help, and push hard and fast in the centre of the chest.

The current thinking is that unless you are trained in administering breaths, don’t bother as it will likely be pointless and reduces the time that you have available to keep the already somewhat oxygenated blood flowing to the brain.

If you are trained (and I recommend that every single one of us gets updated and certified with their first aid skills), then you can do 30 compressions to 2 breaths.

The ‘Hard and Fast’ mantra is also nice and simple. They recommend 100 to 120 compressions per minute. Apparently, if you do it to the beat of the Bee Gees’ Staying Alive, you will be pretty much on track. But the big thing is just do it, Hard and Fast. Near enough is good enough, you might just save someone’s life.

One of the great things about our new phones, of course, is that there is an app for everything, and first aid is no exception. NZ Red Cross and St John’s both have apps with a lot of information on them including tutorials. You will find them in your app store on your device.

Remember you will never know when you will need your skills in this area. Just recently, as a result of my involvement with motorsport, I had the chance to help out some badly injured people. It is amazing just how quickly the training comes back to you when you need it.

And for goodness sake, don’t worry about whether the patient has boobs! Just get in and help.


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ExPFC, ex lots of things. Husband to a great woman. Father to great kids. Traveller, teller of tall tales, wannabe capitalist property magnate. I’m a passionate user of fossil fuels, a proud Kiwi, Ford over Holden, Indy over F1, V8’s over everything else.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.

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