News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

January 5, 2009

Valley freshmen learn about CPR, how to help in a crisis

TERRE HAUTE — As part of a new initiative, all Vigo County School Corp. high school freshmen will have the opportunity to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation, a skill that could help them save lives.

Terre Haute Regional Hospital staff will provide the training, which began Monday in Terre Haute South Vigo High School health classes.

The training will occur at all five high schools during two 70-minute health classes. The goal is for all ninth-graders to receive the training by the end of the school year.

Terre Haute South freshmen learned about the initiative during a Monday morning assembly to kick off the program.

“I think it will be a really good opportunity for all freshmen,” said student Hannah Lee. The training will give her the skills and confidence to potentially save someone’s life, she said.

Several months ago, Dr. Kayur Patel, the hospital’s chief medical officer, approached the school district about providing the training, said Superintendent Dan Tanoos.

“We know through data and studies that the more people in the community who are trained in CPR, the better the chances of survival” among those who collapse and suffer cardiopulmonary arrest, Tanoos said.

Significantly improving survival rates depends on community support and an increase in the number of people who can perform CPR, Patel said.

Some communities, such as Anchorage, Alaska, have had significant improvements in their survival rates, and Patel would like to see Vigo County join their ranks within the next few years.

There are many important reasons for people to learn CPR, Patel said.

If CPR is begun immediately after collapse, the person is two to three times more likely to survive, Patel said.

Too often, CPR doesn’t begin until an ambulance or emergency responders arrive on the scene, which could be 5 to 10 minutes, he said.

He also pointed out that brain death starts to occur about 4 minutes after someone experiences cardiac arrest if no CPR and defibrillation occurs during that time.

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