OUR VIEW: Hamlin incident a reminder that more of us should learn CPR

Published 11:30 am Saturday, January 7, 2023

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CPR is not new and is a common certification required for many jobs from babysitting to being a medical doctor.

However, on Monday, when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and had to be given CPR live on television in the middle of a football field with 60,000 plus in the stands, the need for being CPR certified became top of mind.

Many medical experts made the rounds on national TV networks to talk about how immediately providing CPR was critical in cardiac arrest cases.

As the world remained glued for updates on Hamlin’s condition, we stopped to think about how important CPR certification is and how many know how to perform CPR or can even identify when that need arises.

We published a story this week where we spoke with Emory interventional cardiologist Marcus Williams; Troup County School Safety Coordinator and District Athletic Director Steve Heaton; Lieutenant Lance Horn with the LaGrange Fire Department; and Michelle O’Neill, a registered nurse at Premier Medical Training Service.

They talked about how the faster CPR is administered or an AED is used, the better the chances a person suffering from cardiac arrest survives.

Using a defibrillator, a bystander can help resuscitate a patient as soon as they collapse. The first few minutes after a sudden cardiac arrest takes place are vital to the patient’s survival. Only 8-10% of people outside of a hospital survive.

“When someone goes down into cardiac arrest or they’re not breathing, their heart has stopped it’s apparent to get CPR began immediately,” O’Neill said. “Performing CPR will increase their chance of survival if they can get it in the first six minutes.”

We never know when these events will occur, and it is in our best interest to become certified in Basic Cardiac Life Support. Knowing the person next to you at the grocery store knows CPR may give us a little more peace of mind.

As of this writing, the breathing tube that was aiding Hamlin has been removed, and he was talking with his family. He even jumped on a FaceTime call with his teammates, flexed his muscles and told them he loved them.

Undoubtedly, those first responders made the right calls swiftly and decisively to save the 24-year-old’s life.