When CPR Doesn’t Work! Explained by Roy Shaw, Paramedic

Coping with the loss of a loved one or even a stranger can be extremely difficult. But more difficult than grieving, is feeling guilty that the person died because of something that may or may not have been done or done correctly.

In this video, I explain in detail what CPR is, and what it’s not and why a person should not ever feel guilty that they didn’t do enough to keep a victim of cardiac arrest alive. I hope that this video brings peace and understanding to why a rescuer should never feel that they are at fault when a person doesn’t survive cardiac arrest, though the bystander attempted CPR or wanted to give CPR. I hope it helps.

Does Eating Snow Cause Hypothermia?

A Rescue Fan wrote in and basically said, “Hey! Bad advice! Everyone knows that eating snow when stranded in the wilderness is a bad idea. It can make a person hypothermic!”

As I thought about their comment, I began to do some research and then some deeper thought on the subject.
I instantly began to wonder if the commenter had a point. Is it better to slow down the hypothermia that may be already causing symptoms or die from dehydration?

Remember, hypothermia usually sets in as quick as 3 hours or less in certain cases while life threatening dehydration can take up to 3 days. So, if you’re surviving the elements long enough to dehydrate, you’re probably staying somewhat warm. If so, then consuming snow or melted snow and getting hypothermic as a result is probably the last of your concerns when thinking about staying alive. For if you survive the elements, dehydration and death will be knocking in about 2-3 days.

http://www.livescience.com/32320-how-long-can-a-person-survive-without-water.html

How To Process Feelings Of Guilt When CPR Doesn’t Work

I received an email from a person who provided CPR to their father but unfortunately, their father did not respond to the CPR and remained dead.  The child who provided CPR to them is now dealing with incredible feelings of failure and guilt.  They feel as though they failed their father.  They feel as though they did not help enough.  They are sad, but they also feel responsible that their loved one is gone.

I knew I had to respond to this as soon as possible so I recorded a direct message to them in hopes that it can help them understand that they did everything right and what’s more…they showed a wonderful act of love to their father.  I hope this helps them but I also hope it helps others who are suffering from the same or similar feelings.  Peace Be With You.

Roy Shaw TV Interview With “Ask The Expert”.

A while back I had the honor of being asked to be on the health care panel for a local television show called,  “Ask The…”.   In this episode, Shelly Irwin had wanted several representatives from different types of medical response agencies.  The Hospital ER, the Ambulance on the street and a paramedic in education.  It was a lot of fun and though it’s a bit long and my mike is turned up a little high, I thought some of you might like to here what the different types of medical responders do and how they look at things from their world.   I loved being a street paramedic but I really love being able to host RoyOnRescue and create life saving video trainings that are watched all around the world.

Hope you enjoy it.

Oh yeah, did I say it’s 26 minutes long?   Might want to refresh that beverage of choice before you begin! : )

I Administered CPR To My Neighbor, But It Didn’t Work!

I received an email from a true rescuer who attempted to revive their neighbor by administering CPR.  The neighbor did not survive lighthouse-1418634-sand now the rescuer is feeling as though the may not have done enough to help.  This is a very normal feeling for many rescuers.  I’d like to share my thoughts and I hope it helps bring closure, confidence and peace.

Much Peace,

THE FOLLOWING IS MY RESPONSE:

Hello Lynn,

It sounds like you’ve had a rough couple of days.  First, because a neighbor and potentially their friends and family members are experiencing a living nightmare right now and secondly, because you may be feeling like you did not do enough, or do it well enough.

These feelings are very normal and not because you did anything wrong.  It’s just normal to feel sad that the situation did not turn out the way we would have wanted it to.  The fact that you did any CPR at all means that you gave this gentleman a chance at survival.  Please remember, CPR is not designed to save lives directly.  It’s purpose is to slow the process of moving from clinical death to biological death down a little in order to possibly intervene with advanced life support and buy more time to get the person to the hospital. CPR can sometimes help the body respond to the medications and electrical therapy but it does not take away the reason the person went into cardiac arrest in the first place in most cases.  There can be so many reasons why a patient goes into cardiac arrest and why the seemingly don’t respond.  It’s important to remember that your neighbor was already clinically dead when you arrived by their side.  You gave them and their family members a wonderful gift.  You moved out of your comfort zone and gave this person a second chance at survival.  Something they wouldn’t have had if you wouldn’t have tried.  The fact that your neighbor did not survive cardiac arrest does not take anything away from your efforts and your compassion.

You acted bravely and selflessly.  That is not the norm in our culture.  You are the exception and I say well done!  Please, be at peace knowing that the most experienced and effective rescuers don’t always achieve the outcome that others wish would happen.  True rescuers try their best to make a possibility for a tomorrow, regardless of the outcome and make the world a more loving place and show the world compassion by doing so.

Be at peace knowing that you did a wonderful act of love and compassion.

Most sincerely,

-Roy

Happy New Year! -2013 RoyOnRescue Wrap Up.

In this final video of 2013, I wanted to quickly summarize the 25 different topic episodes and share a New Year blessing with all you Rescue Fans!

Happy New Year!

A Response To A Rescuer Who’s Attempts To Revive Her Father Were Unsuccessful

Dear Rescue Fans,

I received yet another loving email from a person who’s father died in the front of their automobile while they were driving them to the hospital. Due to things outside her control, she was unable to move her dad to the ground so she improvised and did CPR while he was reclined in tlost loved onehe car the best she could. She has struggled for some time with this and found some relief from my episode on “Did I Do CPR Wrong?”.
I just replied back to her and I have to believe there may be others who have tried to save a life with CPR and felt it was not successful. So I’m going to include my reply to her in this blog entry and for those of you who are suffering, I hope it helps.

This person said in her last paragraph of her email: “I have struggled with this in so many ways, yet feel comfort in being with him when he left. I have struggled to find any material that related to my experience. I have felt isolated in not being able to share how I lost my dad, This story, the words you have written, have helped me process and understand my own experience. Thank you.”

This was my response:
Dear __________,

I’m so very sorry for the loss of your Father. I’m sure this must have been most traumatic for both you and your mother. I want to re-ensure you that what you did for your dad that day, was the most brave and loving gift you could have given both your dad and your mum. Every thing you did sounds perfect in order to give your dad the best chance of survival possible under the circumstances. The fact that he did not survive the event does not have anything to do with your efforts. Remember, CPR is only a time buyer in case the person is going to respond to medications and advanced medicine. It’s not a guarantee. The fact that you had the courage to try and the compassion to help is amazing. Please let your mother know that her reaction to the situation is also very normal. She lost the love of her life. Her soul mate and her husband. It’s a nightmare that is happening for real, right before her eyes and it’s not wrong for her to be so overwhelmed with grief and fear that she could not help. That’s why paramedics are not called to their own homes for emergencies. It’s too emotional. So please, let your mother know that she is not at fault for her reactions either.

I hope and pray that you will receive peace during this time of healing. But please know that everyone has a day to die and it’s never easy to experience it. CPR just keeps the window of opportunity to survive open a little longer. You gave that to your dad. As a father myself, I can only imagine how I’d feel to know that my daughter loved me so much that she would give me CPR while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. What love.

Be at Peace,

-Roy
P.S. I’ve included the video that explains this message in detail. I recorded it so long ago, it’s hard to find so I’m going to bring it back to the top. Share it with anyone you may know who may benefit from it.

Why Put On Personal Protective Equipment(PPE) Before Checking For Consciousness?

Hello Rescuers!

I just received a question via our ProCPR customer feedback that read: PPE

Dear ProCPR, “Question 16 says you have on PPE (personal protective equipment)  already, then you check for
responsiveness. Why would you put on your PPE before you check consciousness?

– Anthony

In case anyone else may have asked the same question I though I’d address it.  First, Question 16 is the number this person was on while taking the ProCPR.org test.  This is the online portion of the Health Care Provider level BLS certification training in case anyone was wondering.

Okay,  now for the answer.  As professional health care providers, we should always be thinking about cross contamination.  We don’t want to catch what the patient may have and we don’t want to give the patient anything that we may have!  Remember, PPE works both ways.  Can anyone say, nosocomial infection?  Even if the patient isn’t in obvious distress or obviously infectious, we should be thinking about the fact that the person seems to be in need and may require medical treatment.  This means that we may need gloves, CPR shield with one way barrier, goggles, face mask, respiratory protection etc.   This is why it’s so important to think about PPE  whenever we encounter a situation that may call us into action.  Not just when the person is unconscious or not breathing.

Forever, I’ve battled the problem with health care professionals short cutting PPE while giving care or even thinking about care.  We really do need to consider the two way protective properties related to infection control as it relates to appropriate personal protective equipment.

When it comes to layperson rescue, one of the top five reasons that laypeople will not intervene when a person is in distress is the fear of disease!  If the rescuer is approaching a victim and dons their gloves early as well as ensures that they have a CPR shield available, the fear of catching a disease is greatly diminished.  This will  increase the chances that the Good Samaritan may actually get physically involved in the rescue.

Now I know what you may be thinking…”Roy!  Do you really think that I’ll have one of those rescue kits on by belt all the time?  You may be a “Rescue Hero” type but the feasibility of me having PPE on my person when I’m at the beach, shopping, walking, vacationing, or even at a business meeting is slim to none.”  Well, I have to agree!  Unless you are a professional rescuer on duty, you probably won’t have your jump kit, glove pouch or a one way valve mask bag swinging from your belt loop.  So how will you have the PPE you need at the time you need it?  The best way I’ve found is to have a key ring rescue kit.  The catch is having it be small enough to not get in the way and large enough to carry your gloves and a one way CPR shield.  The reason I say a Key Ring style, is that I think that keys are the one item that most people have with them most of the time.  If they don’t have them with them, then they are usually close at hand.  And if we have our keys, we’ll at least have gloves and a CPR shield.   So make sure you get one and then the PPE problem is out of the way.  Still don’t think that PPE is needed?   Well, that’s why the AHA endorses “hands only” CPR!  It’s really not that compression only CPR is better than full Cardio PULMONARY resuscitation, it’s that there are so many non PPE toting people afraid that they may catch a disease if they do mouth to mouth rescue breaths that we had to design a new form of  bystander CPR.  Since implementing  “Hands only” CPR, there has been an increase in rescuer involvement.  And when people get involved and provide CPR, lives are saved!

PPE should be on every rescuer’s mind…and key chain, lay or professional and when we begin to think about PPE as the first step in rescue, lives are saved and infection is prevented more often!

Hope this helps.

Question: Why Dont We Check ABC’s Anymore?

In this blog,

20130114-192805.jpg
I answer a question that came in about why we don’t teach lay rescuers to check for pulses after AED shock. This student thought that we were trying to trick them but in reality, the new standards are what may be tricky. Here’s my answer, I hope it helps.

Hi Shelley,

Thank you for taking the time to comment about the training. I’m writing In regards to your question about AED use and then checking for “signs of life” vs checking for Airway, Breathing and Circulation. Id like to assure you that as wrong as it may seem to do CPR without checking for pulses first, the training you received from ProFirstAid.comis based upon the latest guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association and are correct.

The old standards were to shock with AED Training and then assess for Airway, Breathing and Circulation, if no pulse give CPR. The new standards have eliminated pulse checks for lay rescuers in order to simplify and hopefully reduce pulse check “mistakes”. This is designed to shorten time from arrival of help to first chest compression.

Now, if your feeling a little confused, don’t feel bad… many of us do when there are changes. Be assured that most people who are unconscious, not breathing normally and have received a shock are most probably in cardiac arrest and CPR is called for. Besides, studies show that chest compressions when not needed rarely ever cause severe harm. Better to error on the side if giving CPR.

This however, is the reason for change in training and per the AHA standards it is accurate.

I’d be happy to explain further and in more details if you like.

Best Wishes,

Roy Shaw, paramedic, instructor
ProTrainings.com

Tribute To Rescue And Survival

In this episode, I wanted to take a moment to focus on the success of rescue attempts. Though it’s no guarantee that anyone will survive no matter how hard we try to save their lives, from time to time…they do.

And this is a video that celebrates survival. Don’t forget to celebrate the caring enough to try, no matter what the outcome too.
Cheers,

Roy