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.

Personal Email Regarding The Subject of When CPR Doesn’t Work

I received an email that asked several questions regarding events leading up to a cardiac arrest and then how to manage feelings of failure after CPR is given but the person still remains dead.  I hope this helps.

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.

Guess What Movie Star Put Their CPR Skills To Use!

Tens of thousands of people are trained in life saving CPR every year. But sometimes it’s easy to forget that CPR is not just for health care providers and in the case of an emergency, you never know just who might be happening by. In this case, it was famous actor, Dustin Hoffman! You may know him from some of his better known movies such as Rain Man, Tootsie, Hook and of recent, Kung Fu Panda. I included the video that interviewed to two medics who interacted with Mr. Hoffman on scene and they tell the story. Thought you might find it interesting.

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,

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 the phrase “Not Breathing Normally?”

ConfusedHello Rescue Fans!

I saw a comment come in this morning from our training feedback report that read, “in your trainings, why do you say, ‘not breathing normally’ instead of ‘not breathing,’ period, for starting CPR?”  I thought this was a valid question and so I thought I’d try to reply with a valid answer!  The following is my reply to their question.  I hope it helps.

normalbreathingahaDear Rescuer,
Thank you for taking the time to give feed back regarding the ProTrainings certification program.  You mentioned that the phrase “not breathing normally” versus “not breathing” was confusing.  I can appreciate your thoughts regarding this phrase.  The reason that the phrase is now “not breathing normally,” is in response to studies that show many sudden cardiac arrest victims still having some agonal respirations for the first minute into arrest.  This slow gasp for air is purely an autonomic reflex, and does not relate to having a pulse.  This form of insufficient respiration is inadequate to oxygenate, and the patient is usually pulseless as well.  Due to this,  the latest consensus guidelines changes the verbiage to, “not breathing normally”, so as to encourage early CPR compressions. In the past, rescuers, especially lay rescuers, were confusing agonal respirations for normal respirations and thought CPR was not needed.
I hope this helps clear up the confusion, and hope that you will email me if you have any further questions.

What If The Person Is Choking and Is Pregnant?

Hi Rescue Fans!

Got a good question via email today regarding the choking adult scenario.  This rescuer asked if we could explain the following:  “Please talk about how to give a pregnant woman chest compressions if she was choking. How would we hold her? With an infant we make sure the head is below the body. But what to do for a pregnant woman who is choking? -H____pregnantchokingfemale

I thought this was a good question and one that we cover in our CPR certification course.  Feel free to view it below.  At about 44 seconds into the training, I talk about what to do if the person has a distended abdomen that’s too large to reach around, or they are a pregnant person.  I hope this helps!


What Does An Actual Drowning Look Like And How Do We Help?

As in all accidental deaths, the more we know about how to prevent them, the better off we will all be. In this episode, I answer an email that asked if I could combine training with some more realistic visuals about how a person may actually look when they’re drowning vs. the hollywood melodramatic look. The rescue fan was concerned that many people may not even realize that a drowning victim could be very quiet and not really even yell for help.

I hope this training helps us all have a much safer summer of fun!

Fellow Workers Credited For Saving Co-Workers Life With CPR

This video covers a story of how a person’s life is saved because others cared enough to try CPR. Watch this video and be encouraged that you never know when you may need to use CPR skills. If you want to learn CPR today, go to www.profirstaid.com and click on the training tab at the top of the site. Then watch the videos for free, and learn what to do in case of an emergency. It really can make a difference! It did in this person’s life.

Keep On Rescuing,

Nurse Doesn’t Give CPR To Elderly Resident, Did She Do Something Wrong?

Hello Rescue Fans,

Today I was made aware of a story that is on fire with debate.  Should CPR have been given to the elderly person or not?  Should the RN be charged?  Should the family sue the “Nursing Home?”  actually independent living residence.  How does the blah blah blah association feel about this?  How does the National Board of Registered Nurses feel about this?  On and on and on!   What I can’t believe is why everyone is blaming a non medical facility, which has pre-aranged agreements with it’s residents that don’t want any CPR for calling 911 and then simply doing what the resident and the management agreed to do?  Okay, so there wasn’t an actual DNR(Do Not Resuscitate) which can lead to a lot of miscommunication and ambiguity…I give you that but come on, guilty of neglect?  Charged for not administering CPR?  I know what you’re thinking right now.  Roy has flipped his lid!  Here he is, the RoyOnRescue host that is always talking about how we should get involved in order to try and save a life and now he’s sticking up for this non-caring facility that let this “poor” women die!

You’re right, I am all about saving lives when they can be saved, but I’m also all about death with dignity when the time is right and it’s in line with the wishes of the patient themselves.  What’s more is that this debate is not about the wishes of the patient, which has already been confirmed by deceased family members, this is about a 911 dispatcher who thought that the person at the end of the phone should care enough to begin CPR, regardless of the rules and regulations by which the employee was mandated to follow.  Yes, the caller should probably not have said that they were a nurse which could be interpreted as a skilled nursing center instead of an independent retirement community.   Yes, the nurse and the dispatcher could have been more calm while explaining that the patients wishes were for no resuscitation and that the community agrees to no resuscitation prior to living in that facility.  But in the end, the mainstream media has gotten wind of this story and blown it way, way out of proportion.  I’ve dealt with so many of these calls that I predicted what the problem was before I even read the story. And after reading not one, but many accounts, found that it was just as I thought. In short, lack of communication, lack of paperwork and lack of privacy.  You put all those together and what do you get?  A hot story that takes off like a wild fire!  Watch the video for my thoughts and then give me your feedback.  Especially if you disagree.  I love a good debate.