On Friday, the Bend Fire Department recognized Israel Hawley, 17, for saving the life of his grandfather, Donald Sandretzky, who went into cardiac arrest while driving his family to church. Israel performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for about eight minutes while waiting for Bend Police to arrive. Hawley, who did not have prior CPR training, followed the directions of a 911 dispatcher.
Bend Fire Battalion Chief of Administration David Howe notes that this made the difference between life and death.
"Without Israel," says his grandmother Pauline Sandretzky, "he couldn't have been saved," she says.
It took roughly eight minutes for trained emergency techs to arrive on the scene, and for that time Hawley was able to keep his grandfather alive.
"For every minute following a cardiac arrest with no CPR, the chance of survival decreases by 10 percent," says Deputy Chief Steve O'Malley.
According to the American Red Cross the best method in which to perform CPR (for those who are not in the professional medical field) is called hands-only CPR. This is primarily for bystanders who are not formally trained, but can assist until proper help arrives.
Hawley was instructed by a 911 dispatcher on how to administer hands-only CPR. Howe says that this method, which focuses primarily on chest compressions, is easily describable by a dispatcher over the phone, and is very effective if done correctly.
"Oxygenating the blood is essential, but hands-only can be done for several minutes and buys time for first responders," says O'Malley.
The American Red Cross stresses that it is important to make sure the person is in need of CPR by observing the victim and very loudly and clearly asking if they are OK. The goal of a bystander performing CPR (or any aid) is to make the situation stable, or at the very least, not worse. If there is a great possibility of the administrator being hurt while attempting to perform CPR (or other aid), it is recommended that the bystander not endanger himself/herself and always stay aware of any hazardous environmental conditions.
Calling 911 immediately is the proper first step. After assessing the situation, the environment, and the victim, hands-only CPR can begin.
The heel of the hand should be placed in the center of the chest, with the other hand on top and fingers laced together. Keeping the arms straight, the Red Cross instructs to, "push hard, push fast," and to do so with enough power to push the chest two inches deep. There should be one hundred compressions per minute while still allowing the chest to rise back up between them. For more information on how to conduct hands-only CPR visit redcross.org.
Many people grew up learning at school a combination of chest compressions and breathing. Battalion Chief Howe points out that, CPR has evolved over the past few decades, and the only reason outdated methods are still in use is that people may not have renewed their certifications. He adds that hands-only CPR does not require a formal CPR class or card.
In addition to dispatcher-instructed CPR, the Bend Fire Department also now offers PulsePoint, a mobile phone application that notifies any CPR providers in the area when there is a cardiac arrest victim in proximity. The app works through 911.
Battalion Chief Howe, who has served with Bend Fire for 38 years, is excited about what this new app can do to help buy precious minutes needed in an emergency. He says PulsePoint can make everyone a first responder.
"A community filled with people willing to step up and do CPR to save a life is a caring community," he says, noting also that, "PulsePoint makes our entire community more responsive and resilient."
Bend Fire, the Bend Police and Deschutes County Dispatch have found that bystander CPR, administered as soon as someone goes down, greatly increases survival rates.
Hawley's grandmother beams with pride for her grandson. "We were all very emotional at the awards ceremony. We are all so proud of him. Oh my, he's our hero," she says.
The family plans to display his Lifesaver Award from the Bend Fire Department in their new home when they move in next month.
More information about PulsePoint is available at www.pulsepoint.org.
For more information about CPR and available classes visit www.redcross.org