CPR, also known as Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a medical procedure involving repeated compression of a patient’s chest, performed in an attempt to restore the blood circulation and breathing of a person who has suffered cardiac arrest. CPR certification is needed for a variety of jobs and professions, from doctors all the way through to lifeguards. While the steps performed for CPR have been revised over the years, the technique has largely stayed the same.
According to the American Red Cross, British Heart Foundation, and Healthdirect Australia, the steps to performing CPR are mostly simple and straightforward:
Before Giving CPR-
- Check the scene and make sure it’s safe.
- Call 911 for assistance .
- Open the airway. With the person lying on their back, tilt their head slightly to life their chin.
- Check for breathing. Listen carefully, for no more than 10 seconds, for sounds of breathing. If there is no breathing, being CPR.
- Push hard, push fast. Place your hands, one on top of the other, in the middle of the chest. Use your body weight to help you administer compression’s that are at least 2 inches deep and delivered at a rate of at least 100 compression’s per minute.
- Deliver rescue breaths. With the person’s head tilted back slightly and the chin lifted, pinch the nose shut and place your mouth over the person’s mouth to make a complete seal. Blow into the person’s mouth to make the chest rise. Deliver two rescue breaths, then continue compression’s.
- Continue CPR steps. Keep performing cycles of chest compression’s and breathing until the person exhibits signs of life, such as breathing, an AED becomes available, or EMS or a trained medical responder arrives on scene.
For all intents and purposes, this is the universal method for performing CPR. You’re on a safari trip in Africa and some has a heart attack? This is how you perform CPR. Enjoying a swim in the Mediterranean Sea and someone drowns? This is how you perform CPR. Skiing down to side of Mount Everest and someone collapses? This is how you perform CPR.
So if this is the case, one question must be asked: Why is CPR performed so poorly throughout our media? Take this clip from the movie “Poseidon” for example:
Aside from the steps performed prior to giving CPR (after all, they are on a sinking, upside down cruise ship), how does Kurt Russell’s character fail to perform quality CPR? Well first off, he is performing the steps out of order. Kurt decides to first give rescue breaths, followed by embarrassingly small amount of compression’s, and THEN decided to check to see if the person is breathing. Secondly, he is not performing CPR for long enough in order for it to have its desired effect.
How about we take a look at a different clip from the popular show “Lost”:
In this scene, Jack, one of the foremost cardiac surgeons in the world, is giving his buddy, Charlie, CPR. While keeping in mind the CPR steps listed above, we see Jack doing a pretty admirable job performing CPR… until the 2:07 mark of the video. Now, I get dramatic effect and everything, but word to the wise- don’t start hammer fisting the chest of a person who is not breathing. This will not have the effect it did in this clip and will likely decrease the chances of saving that person.
Well, if you think that clip is comical, this clip from “Breaking Bad” is even worse:
Here we have Jesse attempting CPR on his girlfriend, who likely had an overdose, and boy do we see some problems here. To start it off (and unlike the previous two clips where they were stranded on a sinking boat and hidden island) Jesse should have started the process off by calling 911. His positioning is also off, as he is straddling the victim instead of kneeling perpendicular to her. Not only that, he’s performing CPR while on a mattress. How are you supposed compress the chest down two inches when you are essentially bouncing them up and down on springs? On top of that, the procedure is performed completely wrong, with no rescue breaths being given.
So what can we learn from this? First off, don’t try CPR without getting the proper training and certification. CPR classes are given all throughout the country, and can be taken, in some states, starting at 9 years old. Secondly, don’t imitate the techniques or procedures used in popular or mainstream media. CPR is universal, and performed the same way everywhere. If you see a new method used somewhere else, they are likely performing it incorrectly. Lastly, keep up to date with all advances and changes made for CPR. The ratio of compression’s to breaths in children vs adults have changed in the last 10 years. Also, the invention of the AED, or automated external defibrillator, has revolutionized CPR. Keep up to date with these new inventions and regulations and it could be the difference between life and death.
- CPR Steps | Perform CPR. (n.d.). Retrieved February 07, 2018, from https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/performing-cpr/cpr-steps
- Foundation, B. H. (n.d.). How to do CPR. Retrieved February 07, 2018, from https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/how-to-save-a-life/how-to-do-cpr
- How to perform CPR. (n.d.). Retrieved February 07, 2018, from https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/how-to-perform-cpr