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YOU Can Save a Life

by Mary Ann Dowd -Sussman, Madison Valley Fire Department

redacted from The Madisonian, Thursday, January 12, 2023

There has been a renewed interest in CardioPulmonary Resuscitation following the cardiac arrest suffered by the NFL football player, Damar Hamlin. The result of a blunt impact to his chest area caused an electrical abnormality to the heart muscle called commotio cordis (Latin, "agitation or disruption of the heart"). In layman’s terms – his heart was short circuiting and the signals to pump blood went awry.

This was immediately recognized, CPR was administered, followed by the use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and Hamlin regained a heartbeat. Due to the quick medical attention Hamlin received, his heart returned to a normal rhythm and began pumping blood to the vital organs. He is now on the road to recovery.

CardioPulmonary Resuscitation is vital to saving a life in the event of cardiac arrest…and YOU can learn what to do if you witness such an event. The American Heart Association encourages lay personnel to take classes, watch you-tube videos and read about CPR. To keep it as simple as possible, the Heart Association encourages “HANDS-ON LY” CPR. It’s easy to learn…just two steps!

Step number 1 - if you witness someone who is not responding, not breathing and has no pulse, dial 911 and state your emergency.

Step number 2 – place your hands in the center of the chest and push hard. You need 100-120 compressions per minute. Keep pushing until further help arrives. Two steps to help save a life.


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