The College of Medicine has installed automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the Medical Sciences Building as a safety enhancement. To be reasonably accessible to all occupants and visitors of the CARE/Crawley Building, MSB and the Cardiovascular Center, the AEDs are located centrally in the MSB elevator lobbies on each floor, levels R through seven.
The devices aren’t intended to replace calls to 911 or the care of a medical professional but to provide a tool for first line response when necessary. The models installed don’t require specialized training, but when activated, offer audio instructions along with follow-the-model pictures, says Jason McMullan, associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine.
McMullan held sessions in February to teach 57 volunteers how to use the AEDs and how to administer hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) as part of the Take 10 Cincinnati
initiative. The American Red Cross
also offers instructions for hands-only CPR and AED use online.
"An AED can be lifesaving to the 10 to 20 percent of people who need one, but everyone suffering from cardiac arrest needs CPR,” says McMullan. "We have been doing community outreach and teaching folks compression-only (hands-only) CPR so that when the time comes and someone collapses, a bystander can assist. We know that providing CPR before paramedics arrive will triple the chances that person will survive.”
McMullan used role-play sessions to show volunteers what needs to happen if they encounter an individual who appears to have lost consciousness and in need of assistance. He asked his volunteers to follow three simple rules:
- Check to see if the person is responsive and breathing normally.
- If not, call 911 for help and ask a bystander to find an AED.
- Then, administer chest compressions at a rate of 100 per minute.
McMullan told volunteers not to worry about possible mistakes when administering CPR and using the AEDs.
"I would much rather go home and have another 40 Christmases with my family with a couple of broken ribs than to not go home at all,” says McMullan. "Whether you do it or not, determines whether or not I get a chance to go home.”
Some volunteers may grow tired giving chest compressions and won’t be able to keep up the pace without a break. "That’s okay because the only bad CPR is no CPR,” says McMullan. "If you are doing anything, you are improving their chances of survival.”
Some individuals may be unconscious because of a heroin overdose or some other conditions.
"What if they don’t need CPR or they are drunk and snoring?” says McMullan. "If they wake up and say please stop, well you stop.”
Another frequently asked question: Can I get sued if I make a mistake?
"Even if you do it absolutely wrong, you are protected by Good Samaritan laws
,” says McMullan. "It’s okay.”