Saving lives with CPR, first aid

Daniel Lim

The proper use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can help increase the survival rate of patients. This, along with conducting basic first aid, forms a front line in helping individuals or groups involved in incidents that resulted in injuries, as quick and proper treatment administered on site can help prevent further medical issues before professional medical aid can arrive.

Despite its importance, learning CPR as well as first aid procedures is something that many have taken for granted. Pengiran Anak Puteri Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences (PAPRSB IHS) at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) aims to change this as part of their Basic Life Support and First Aid Training Course.

A classic definition for CPR is an emergency procedure that combines chest compression often with artificial ventilation, which is conducted in an effort to help manually preserve brain and bodily functions by ensuring continuous blood circulation and breathing. This, along with the basic first aid in providing emergency treatment such as bandaging and choking, is what residents of Mukim Sukang and Mukim Melilas learnt as part of the Basic Life Support and First Aid Training Course conducted by PAPRSB IHS, UBD at the Julangan Titah Longhouse at Mukim Melilas.

Assistant Lecturer of PAPRSB IHS and Coordinator of International Students at the Student Centre Sendi anak Batu said the training course can help save lives in rural areas such as Mukim Melilas and Mukim Sukang where getting emergency medical services such as ambulances is difficult.

“Many of the residents are keen to learn bandaging and choking, and most importantly CPR,” she said.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar observes a CPR training session. PHOTO: DANIEL LIM

Prior to the training course, she observed that many of the emergency treatments, especially in the rural area were based on traditional beliefs. She said the training course and disseminating of information can increase the survival rate of patients from the area.

“During an emergency, people tend to panic. The training course ensures residents are armed with the proper knowledge to tackle emergencies,” she added.

She said similar courses are held for staff from companies, agencies and departments across the country, which ensure that everyone is equipped to help save lives. While one might assume it can be easily conducted, this is far from the truth, as the training course has shown.

“Proper steps need to be followed before conducting CPR, which is to ensure the scene is safe and to check the patient for a response. This is done by tapping on both shoulders as well as asking the patients in both ears if they are alright,” said Basic Life Support Instructor and Lecturer at PAPRSB IHS, UBD Rozita binti Haji Tamin.

She said if there is no response from the victim, one would first call for help before checking for any breathing from the patient’s chest within 10 seconds. “If all these checks are done and no signs of response or breathing can be seen in the patients, the next course of action would be to call the ambulance and to acquire the AED (automated external defibrillator) in preparation for CPR.”

Proper CPR comprises chest compression and artificial ventilation – the latter is done using rescue breath. “As diseases can be transmitted easily we strongly advise not to do rescue breath unless one is related to the patient or using a mouthpiece to protect oneself when doing rescue breath,” she added.

Rozita said some of the common mistakes include wrong hand placement, either too low or too high on the mid sternum, conducting chest compression too fast or too slow, as well as the compression being too shallow. All of this was covered and corrected in the training course.

With the advent of technology, one of the essentials of CPR is the use of an AED, which Rozita said can help drastically increase the survival rate of victims. While CPR can still be conducted without an AED, the use of the device is strongly advised as delayed treatment can lead to long-term damage to the victim’s brain.