70% of all cardiac events that happen outside of a hospital happen in the home. Maybe your home, which means the person in need could be a loved one or a friend. This is just such a story. It is a story about loved ones in need, about taking action, and it’s a story about heroes, many heroes.
Loretta and Marvin were in the midst of a lively discussion. Marvin, who was seated in his easy chair, suddenly in pain, threw his head back and went still. Loretta acting quickly rose to the occasion and became a hero. Realizing that Marvin was not responding to her pleas, she knew she needed to do something. She quickly called 911. The operator, an integral part of Marvin’s survival and another hero, sent out the call for EMS to help. The operator asked Loretta if she knew how to do CPR. Loretta said she did not. Being well trained herself the operator was able to coach Loretta how to do what was needed until the medics arrived. The 911 operator told Loretta she needed to get Marvin onto a firm surface, preferably the floor. Loretta knew she was not strong enough to get Marvin from his chair to the floor, but Marvin was in his recliner. So, thinking quickly Loretta moved the chair into the reclined position! She quickly climbed on top of the chair, straddling Marvin and began compressions!
Within minutes the fire department and ambulance crew arrived. Another group of heroes, ask Marvin, he would be the first to confirm that they were. Marvin was moved to the floor and CPR was continued. The defibrillator was applied, and a shock was delivered. Marvin’s heart was beating again. But his journey was far from over. As quickly as possible he was loaded into the ambulance and transported to the hospital. Here another group of heroes took over Marvin’s critical care.
Marvin’s heart stopped two more times while in ER, but each time the medical team was able to revive him. In time, this group of heroes, brought Marvin’s erratic heart rhythms under control. It was determined that a surgery was needed to help Marvin’s big heart better do its job. The surgery was a success and Marvin is now home, doing well and again having lively discussions with his hero, his wife and his love, Loretta.
Surviving a Cardiac event is a team effort. There are key components that need to happen to give the best chance of survival. The American Heart Association refers to this as their chain of survival. Each link in the chain is a key component to aid in the survival of the person suffering from the cardiac event. The first link is recognition and quickly calling for help. Loretta was the crucial first link in the chain. Loretta and the 911 operator worked together to complete the second link, which is immediate high-quality CPR. The EMS team were responsible for links three and four, rapid defibrillation, advance EMS care, and transportation to the hospital. The hospital team carried out that final link, advance life support and eventually the needed surgery.
The story of Marvin and Loretta is a perfect example of the chain of survival. How each step, each link is an integral part of surviving the cardiac event. It was all started with Loretta recognizing Marvin needed help, she was the first link. She was the first hero.
If you were called upon to be the hero would you be ready? Would you know what to do?
Make sure you are prepared take a CPR class. Be the first link!