Prevention and Early Detection

It Pays to Be CPR Certified

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Oxford Health & Life Magazine.

A casual movie night turns into a medial emergency when a car crashes outside. CPR saves lives, as this story shows.

Brandi Collins, a medical assistant and clinical coordinator at Ross Urgent Care, was watching a movie at a friend’s house when her husband heard a crash on the street. Outside, he found that a car had hit a pine tree along a notoriously treacherous bend in the road. “He saw this elderly gentleman and yelled for me to come help,” says Collins. Her friend called 911 as Collins raced outside.

“He was alert, and i was talking to him, asking him questions,” she says. “The man’s wife had called their son, who arrived quickly because he lives nearby. I turned around for a second, then I heard the son say, ‘Dad are you OK?’ When i turned back, he was slumped over and didn’t have a pulse.”

As a McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital | TriHealth employee, Collins holds the American Heart Association’s basic life support certification. “All employees who work with patients have to get re-certified every two years,” explains Scheryl Moore, R.N., B.S.N., Director of Education for McCullough-Hyde. In addition to classes, code drills are run throughout the year to test employees in the field. “They never know when a drill is coming, and drills are never in the same place twice,” says Moore. “We bring the mannequin, drop it on the floor and give a scenario to whoever is around. They have to run through it like a real-life scenario.” Just weeks before the car accident, Moore ran a code drill at Ross Urgent Care. “I came through the back door,” says Collins, “and I saw Scheryl with the dummy on the floor. She looked at me and said: ‘My father’s not breathing.’ I had to run a code. I think those tests really help. You have to react right away, without any time to think about it.”

Thanks to her training, Collins immediately jumped into action when the elderly man collapsed. “We pulled him out of the car, and I just started chest compressions,” says Collins. “While it was happening, the only thing I could hear in my head was Scheryl saying ‘quick, fast, fast’ exactly like she did in our training to help me keep the right pace. After 20 compressions, he came back, and not a minute later, the EMTs arrived and took over.”

Moore says Collins’ experience is a perfect example of why CPR training is so important. “When you don’t know what to do you can just freeze, but if it’s in your mind, it really does work,” says Moore. “From our conversation, Brandi did exactly what she should have done. I’m so proud of her for jumping in there and doing what she needed to do.”

And life-support training isn’t just for healthcare providers. American Heart Association classes teach skills that anyone can use in an emergency. “It’s not common to respond to an emergency out on the street like that,” explains Moore. “It’s much more likely that one of your loved ones might need it. And if it’s your parent or your child who’s in trouble, you want to know what to do.”

Once the EMTs arrived on the scene, Collins explained that she had started compressions and gave them her name and phone number. “Then we got out of the way so they could get him to the hospital,” she says. “His daughter came by my friend’s house and told us he got a pacemaker, and that he’s doing well. I think everybody should go through CPR training. Anybody can learn how to do it.” 

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