Have you ever thought I should learn CPR? As a local community member of the Northern Beaches I think you should learn CPR also. Simple Instruction has CPR and First Aid courses being conducted at the Dee Why RSL (DYRSL) on the beautiful Northern Beaches throughout January and February in 2016. Book in today and get trained to help someone in the future.

Sue DunlevyNews Corp Australia Network 


NEARLY thirty thousand Australians will die of cardiac arrest this year because too few bystanders have the basic CPR skills to keep them alive until an ambulance arrives.

Emergency physician Professor Paul Middleton says he’s sick of seeing patients turn up dead in emergency departments when a simple 15 minute CPR training session could have saved their lives.

He’s founded a new charity Take Heart Australia to turn that statistic around and aims to deliver CPR training to every Australian and get a heart starting defibrillator installed on every street.

The Sunday Telegraph is also calling for the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to include certified teaching of CPR in the national curriculum.

Surf Life Saving NSW has calculated it could deliver certified CPR training at a cost of $35 per student — or about $3 million for every Year 7 pupil in the state.

Brain damage sets in three minutes after a cardiac arrest, within ten minutes the patient will be dead and an ambulance will never arrive in time to save these people, says Professor Middleton.

“Most of these arrests need a shock to restart the heart and 80 per cent of those that happen in the street should be reversed by a simple defibrillator,” he says.

“But you also need someone doing high quality CPR from the moment you go down,” he said.

“Every minute without CPR there is a ten per cent increase in mortality, and ambulance can’t arrive in under eight minutes and it’s almost always ten minutes,” he says.

“It can’t be left to the ambulance service, it has to be left to the community,” he says.

Australia’s performance in CPR is falling with just ten per cent of cardiac victims saved by the procedure in Sydney in 2010, down from 12 per cent in 2005.

This compares to the two in three people who survive a cardiac arrest in Seattle in the US where 75 per cent of the population is trained in CPR.

Life saver ... a defibrillator can mean the difference between life and death

Life saver … a defibrillator can mean the difference between life and deathSource:News Corp Australia

Citizens of Seattle are required to take CPR classes to graduate from high school and to get or renew a driver’s license, attend university or work in the public service, it also has a large number of defibrillator devices available in public buildings and police vehicles says Professor Middleton.

“The joke is if you fall asleep on a park bench in Seattle someone will do CPR on you,” he said.

Denmark has also more than doubled survival rates from cardiac arrest since 2005 by teaching schoolchildren CPR skills, making CPR training it a requirement for a driver’s licence.

The number of cardiac arrest victims who received “bystander” more than doubled in Denmark from 22% in 2001 to 45% in 2010.

Take Heart has a plan to ensure 100 per cent of Australians are trained in CPR by making CPR training it a requirement to get a drivers’ licence, go to university, get a job in the public service.

It also wants to put a $2,000 heart starting automated external defibrillator (AED) on every street in Australia.

The new organisation will try to teach 10,000 people CPR at the SCG Alliance Stadium in November, setting a new Guiness World Record.

Regional areas taking part in Take Heart Australia through satellite events include -Hawkesbury,- Shoalhaven, – Roxby Downs, SA.

Regional areas can take part by hosting their own event. They can make contact with Take Heart Australia through their website or Facebook to organise it.

Its funding a Good Sam App that will immediately dial 000 that will show where the nearest defibrillator is.

One of the biggest problems in Australia is there is now record of who has CPR training or where life saving defibrillators are stored.

Professor Middletons says there are defibrillators at most airports and train stations.

“The safest place to have a cardiac arrest in Australia is the MCG in Melbourne which has a lot of defibrillators installed,” he says.

It takes just 15 minutes to learn CPR and modern techniques don’t even require the kiss of life, however you must tilt the patient’s head back to clear the airways,

Ambulance services, fire and police services, the Royal Flying Doctor Service,

Surf Live Saving Australia, the Red Cross the chief medical officer and the Heart Foundation are all behind his plan he says.

As an emergency physician he says he’s tried to resuscitate “literally hundreds of people and of those only a tiny portion survive”.

“One of the worst bits of my job is witting with a family that’s white faced and telling them their father or their son or a loved one is gone,” he says

“I’d really like to do that less often,” he says.

Close call ... Cassandra Scott almost left her husband and children behind when she drowned at Coogee Beach. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

Close call … Cassandra Scott almost left her husband and children behind when she drowned at Coogee Beach. Picture: Sam RuttynSource:News Corp Australia

‘I nearly died’

Cassandra Scott owes her life to four bystanders on Coogee beach who knew how to do CPR and brought her back from the dead.

In 2012 the then-38-year-old funeral celebrant dived under a wave and was later found floating in the ocean, her heart had stopped.

Another swimmer Neil Clugston came to her rescue, towing her ashore where life saver Luke Twitchings was on hand to perform CPR.

Also on the beach that day was emergency physician Matthew Olivier and a Belgian tourist Olivier Costa, together they kept Cassandras heart going until an ambulance arrived.

Cassandra also needed oxygen and fortunately that was on hand at the life saver station.

“If you’re going to die, do it on a beach,” says Cassandra.

“I was a funeral celebrant at the time before I died so I felt like I went on a customer experience,” she said.

She spent five days in hospital after her rescue and suffered memory loss and a language difficulty.

United family ... Cassandra Scott with her husband Matthew Bauer and children, Nina Bauer, Stanley Bauer and Ewan Scott. Picture: Sam Ruttyn

United family … Cassandra Scott with her husband Matthew Bauer and children, Nina Bauer, Stanley Bauer and Ewan Scott. Picture: Sam RuttynSource:News Corp Australia

“I’m only alive today because those people invested in CPR,” she says.

A mother of one and a stepdaughter at the time, she has since gone on to have another child.

She keeps in close contact with her rescuers and they meet once a year on the anniversary of her cardiac arrest.

“Neil was concerned I would be mentally incapacitated and that rescuing me was not the right thing to do,” she said.

Heroes ... Cassandra Scott and her son Ewan with Neil Clugston and Luke Twitchings, who helped save her life when she drowned at Coogee Beach. Picture: Supplied

Heroes … Cassandra Scott and her son Ewan with Neil Clugston and Luke Twitchings, who helped save her life when she drowned at Coogee Beach. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

“We met a few days later and held hands and cried.”

Matthew Olivier said she was the first person whose life he had ever attempted saving.

“I didn’t know CPR when it happened but I’ve subsequently got good instruction,” she says.

Changes to the kiss of life

The “gross out” factor of performing the kiss of life on a stranger is no longer required to save someone’s life.

A little publicised change to CPR guidelines has eliminated the need for mouth to mouth contact with someone in cardiac arrest after research proved chest compressions alone were enough to keep them alive.

It’s taken the complexity out of the procedure and removed the fear of catching an infection from performing CPR says paramedic and Senior Lecturer in Paramedic Practice at University of Tasmania Suzanne Davies.

She says revulsion at the thought of placing your mouth on a stranger and breathing down their throat was a key reason so many people failed to perform CPR.

“We weren’t willing to put our mouth near someone we didn’t know, there was fear of infection, disease scare and the gross out factor,” she said.

Life or death ... learning how to resuscitate can save lives

Life or death … learning how to resuscitate can save livesSource:News Limited

The problem of remembering how to co-ordinate the breathing with the compression added to the complexity of CPR and people who were afraid of getting it wrong didn’t start in the first place.

While there was a lot of publicity about the changed guidelines in the US and UK there is very little public awareness in Australia because no organisation took responsibility for publicising the change, she says.

The changes have made CPR simple.

All that is required now is to place two hands on the big bone right between the nipples and using the heel of the hand push hard and fast, 100 compressions a minute.

‘You must keep doing it until someone comes, don’t stop,” says Ms Davies.

The movement artificially keeps blood pumping to the brain and improves the chance of the patients surviving functionally intact, she says.

“We used to do the breathing because it sounded biologically plausible because there was no air going in and going out but it appears that was far less important than we assumed,” she says.

Two recent US studies in showed just as many people survived when compressions alone were administered.

Vital ... emergency workers say everybody should know how to rescitate

Vital … emergency workers say everybody should know how to rescitateSource:ThinkStock

The chain of survival

1. Early recognition

• Recognise that the person has collapsed unconscious & is not breathing (the definition of SCA)

2. Early call for help

• Activate emergency services

• Yell loudly for help around you, i.e. to locate the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED), and help doing CPR

3. Early CPR

• Start chest compressions — hands-only CPR — don’t have to do mouth-to mouth any more

• Push hard and fast in the centre of the chest (between the two nipples)

• 100-120 compressions per minute (to beat of Stayin’ Alive by Bee Gees), uninterrupted, until a defibrillator is attached and ready to use it

• Good CPR pushes the blood around the body and to the brain and prevents it dying

4. Rapid defibrillation

• The AED is a small device (weighs not much more than a 2 litre bottle of milk), is fully portable & is easy to operate (provides simple verbal step-by-step instructions to follow).

• It won’t shock someone unless they are in cardiac arrest

• Attach AED pads to chest & the machine will tell you exactly what to do

• Push the big button to shock heart to restart it, then continue CPR immediately

5. Effective advanced life support (the part done by paramedics)

6. Integrated post-cardiac arrest care (the part done by hospitals)