CPR Saves Another Life: Toastmaster Contest Takes Dramatic Turn
It was a dramatic moment at the Toastmasters District 57 (of Northern California), Division F Speech Contest on April 18th in Danville, California (east of San Francisco).
The contestant, whom I’ll call Kumar to protect his identity, was in the middle of his contest speech, recounting his early days attending the University of Alabama, coming from India. As he spoke humorously of trying to fit in to the Crimson Roll Tide football culture, he began to step backwards. At first the audience thought the move was a gimmick to attract attention and woo the judges. But, alas, when he went tumbling down we all realized this was no joke. His wife shrieked, “he’s a heart patient! Someone help him!”
We all jumped into action, and the two of us who were CPR-Certified, knew exactly what to do. “You, go call 9-1-1!” “You, go outside and direct the paramedics to our building!” “You, go find the AED machine.”
As we got him into position on the floor we unsuccessfully found a pulse. This was the sign that it was time to get to work. Greg Kaufman, the CPR-certified, District 57 Public Relations manager, flew into action, and by doing so, saved Kumar’s life.
CPR stands for cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, which is done by applying thirty deep pushes to massage the heart and two breaths. But it’s important to know exactly where and how to push. AED stands for Automatic Electric Defibrillator, which serves to find the heartbeat, if there is one, and then to re-regulate if there isn’t or if it is irregular.
Within a few minutes the local fire department arrived and took control to stabilize Kumar and get him to the hospital, where he is in good care today. Kumar’s doctors plan to implant a defibrillator to shock his heart if it goes into irregular rhythm again.
When asked how he remembered what to do, Kaufman replied, “all the training came flooding back, and I didn’t even have to think.”
According to the American Heart Association, cardiac arrest is an electrical disruption that suddenly causes the heart to beat irregularly and not be able to pump blood effectively to the rest of the body.
Of the more than 366,000 people in the U.S. who experience a cardiac arrest outside the hospital each year, about 90 percent die. CPR, especially if administered immediately, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.
This author, another speech contestant, who is also CPR-certified recalled that “being CPR-certified allowed me to think quickly and not be afraid to act in the midst of an emergency.”
The American Heart Association urges everyone to get CPR-certified, particularly if you live with a heart patient. Kumar’s wife plans to get CPR-certified as soon as possible. For his bravery, Greg Kaufman will be honored with a Heartsaver Award in recognition of a great job for the first part of the Chain of Survival. For more information about CPR go to www.heart.org.
Janice Litvin writes and speaks about workplace wellness, stress, fitness, and healthy eating, and can be found at www.JaniceLitvin.com, Twitter: @JLitvin, or www.Linkedin.com/in/JaniceLitvin. To book Janice to speak for your organization email at: Janice@JaniceLitvin.com or call 415.518.2202