CPR Facts

Q. What if I don’t remember the compression to breath ratio, or do too many cycles?

A. What matters most is that you are assisting the victim by checking your A-B-C’s. Depending on what is working, you will then provide basic life support by breathing or breathing and compressing. The most critical aspect is providing oxygenated blood to the brain. Remember, by doing something you are giving the victim a chance, if you do nothing the victim’s chance for survival diminishes quickly.

Q. Can I stop performing CPR once I have started?

A. Once you have started CPR there are only a few reasons why you can stop.

  1. If the victim got better.
  2. If you are relieved by a trained professional, e.g. Paramedics.
  3. If the victim is pronounced dead.
  4. If you are too tired to go on.

Even after receiving a completion card, you are only required to call for help in an emergency situation, unless your protocol at work requires other wise.

Q. Can I crack ribs while performing CPR?

A. In rare cases it can happen that you disconnect ribs in the elderly or if you forgot to measure where to do your compressions. Ribs do not shatter within the chest. Remember, a disconnected rib will not harm the victim; loss of oxygen to the brain will harm the victim.

Q. Can I be sued for providing CPR or First Aid?

A. You are protected by the Good Samaritan Law as long as you do what a normal prudent person would do in an emergency situation. This means: Don’t go weird and try to perform invasive procedures, such as cutting open the throat and sticking in a straw to help someone breathe or doing compressions over the throat. Unfortunately you can be sued, but not successfully, as long as you only do what is within your scope of training.

Remember, if some one is not in your care, you must ask permission of the responsive victim if you can help. If they are unresponsive, you have implied consent.

CPR Rescuers, the National Safety and Health Institute (ASHI), the National Safety Council, the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross will all stand behind you if you follow these guidelines.

Q. Will the victim vomit while I perform CPR?

A. In most cases, unfortunately yes. Due to our anatomy (the stomach is just below the heart) the compressions will cause the stomach content to regurgitate back up the esophagus. Chunks are not going to projectile out of the victim, but rather fluid, unless the victim just ate.
This is why it is so important to have a barrier device and gloves on hand.