My accreditation as an Austswim instructor is up for renewal. In order that I may have the privilege of paying an exorbitant sum to register, I am required complete at least 20 (unpaid) hours of teaching and renew my cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certificate. The former I am prepared to do, the latter I have always considered a waste of time and now I have the evidence to prove it.
No-one ever tells you that CPR cannot restart a heart – only a defibrillator can do that – the best you can do is keep the blood circulating to the brain.
After much thought I’ve decided to two things; firstly, should I happen upon some one having a heart attack, I’m not volunteering to perform CPR. The expectations are too high. The family doesn’t realise that CPR can’t restart Dad and that “A meta-analysis of 39 studies involving 33,124 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests has shown a survival rate of 6.4%”.
Secondly, I’m having a DNR tattoo put on my chest about where a paramedic would place the paddles, in an attempt to stop “the following scene, which takes place regularly in hospital wards. The curtains are barely closed around the bed of an elderly woman; two people are taking it in turns to rhythmically compress her chest; three doctors are attacking her oedematous limbs with needles, unsuccessfully attempting to insert them into veins; a fourth is poking around her groin trying to cannulate her femoral vein; and a fifth has a laryngoscope in her throat. But on this occasion, I notice something rather unusual (though I have seen it before). As I ventilate her lungs through the endotracheal tube, her eyes are wide open, her pupils are small, she blinks, she seems to be looking straight at me. Someone remarks, “She has a dying heart”. Eventually, we allow the rest of her to follow.”
My Mum and Dad have had a healthcare directive (also known as a living will) for some time, but I’m going to send them a copy of the one that Mick Mackay has written, especially the bit about “When I am in a bed in a hospital ward “old and grey and full of sleep”, do not use your hands to commit violence upon me ¢â¬â use them to comfort me.”