911 gets hearts beating over the phoneMost 911 centers in Wisconsin do not instruct callers on how they can help victims of cardiac arrest before paramedics arrive.
By: By Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Most 911 centers in Wisconsin do not instruct callers on how they can help victims of cardiac arrest before paramedics arrive. The American Heart Association wants that to change that.
The odds are against those who suffer cardiac arrest anywhere but a hospital. Less than eight percent will make it after their heart stops beating, say, in their home or office. To get it started again before paramedics arrive, the American Heart Association is renewing its call for 911 operators to "coach" callers and bystanders in CPR and chest compressions. The association recommendation comes from a scientific statement written by experts including Brooke Lerner, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.
"The earlier someone gets a chest compression the more likely they are to survive their cardiac arrest,” Lerner said. “So the American Heart Association has been striving to increase 'bystander CPR' in any way that they can"
On the spot training, over the phone, by 911 operators is not common. The Department of Health Services says 28 percent of Wisconsin 911 centers have programs in place to provide pre-scripted responses for those calling about cardiac arrest.
Paul Logan, a manager with Dane County Public Safety Communications, says they've coached callers for 10 years.
"We have the tools and the capabilities to take a person whose never done CPR and we can instruct them on the proper way to save this person's life,” he said.
Just last month, Logan says a 63 woman's son was coached by 911 when she suffered cardiac arrest. The mother survived and later wrote the dispatcher a heartfelt thank you for telling her son what to do.