Letter: Telephone CPR Saves Lives

Less than half of people who experience a cardiac arrest outside of a medical setting receive CPR, significantly decreasing their chances of survival. Too often, bystanders simply do not have the skills to perform CPR or the confidence to make the decision to begin chest compressions.

When it comes to CPR, time is of the essence. The chance of survival decreases by 10 percent for every minute without lifesaving CPR support.

This is why the State of Florida must provide standardized telephone CPR training to all medical dispatchers. Providing consistent CPR instruction to 9-1-1 callers will dramatically increase cardiac arrest survival rates. Current studies show immediate bystander CPR can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

Yet, less than half of the nation’s 9-1-1 medical dispatchers provide needed CPR coaching in cardiac arrest situations.

The American Heart Association supports training and certifying all emergency medical dispatchers in Florida to assist 9-1-1 callers through the steps of CPR.

Given that cardiac arrest is the primary cause of death in the U.S., shouldn’t our 9-1-1 operators have the skills and training to effectively support callers in their time of need?

Robbin Lee, CEO Wellington Regional Medical Center

Editor’s note: Ms. Lee chairs the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association, Palm Beach County.