What People are Afraid of When Administering CPR?
Many people always have their concerns about giving CPR to another person, whether they are trained healthcare providers or not. Their main concern center around litigations especially if things don’t go as planned.
A healthcare provider may get used to patients dying even after trying their best to perform a CPR. However, it can be a traumatizing event if you get CPR certificate training, and as a bystander, you witness someone in need and you rush to provide your skills only for the person to end up dead. You should understand that as much as it is devastating for you, it is not your fault, neither is it unusual. You did your best and everything else was out of your control. This should not deter you from providing your skills to someone else who might be in need in the future.
Main Concerns for People who are Training for CPR
Living with Yourself After a Patient Dies When Giving CPR
As we mentioned earlier, you should understand that it wasn’t your fault. Many people don’t often realize that as much as CPR can be a great lifesaver, other factors may be in play. When you get CPR certificate you will learn that if a patient needs CPR, then they are already clinically dead as they are not breathing and there is no pulse. The only function of CPR is to help a clinically dead victim buy more time by moving oxygenated blood to the brain. The medical personnel may arrive in time to prevent a biological death and the victim has only a few seconds to hang on.
This means that CPR on its own is not enough to save a patient’s life. It only moves about 25% of oxygen to the brain so it can survive for the next few minutes. It is not a long-term solution, and neither can it restore the victim to good health on its own. Research shows that about 2% to 18% of all the victims who get CPR survive, and this depends on several factors, such as whether the paramedics arrived at the scene on time among others. From the research one can easily deduce that death is by far the most common occurrence regardless of the rescuer’s skills or efforts.
What Happens if You Give CPR and the Patient Dies and the Family Sues?
This is another major cause of concern for many CPR trainees. They worry that if they put their skills to the test and do their best and still someone dies that they will be used. It is not an unreasonable concern since we are living in a very litigious world. You are not the first one to assume a lawsuit will be coming your way if you try to resuscitate someone, and they end up dead. However, you are protected by the law as a bystander and it is unlikely to get sued for trying to save someone’s life no matter the outcome. Even if you get sued, it is very unlikely that the ruling will be against you.
Good Samaritan Laws
Several states passed Good Samaritan laws to protect bystanders who try to save lives in good faith. According to those laws, the bystander should be doing the CPR out of selflessness and therefore not expecting any monetary gain. If you do, you might be weakening your legal protection. These laws vary from one state to another. While others only offer protection to those who have a CPR certification, others include everyone regardless of whether they have a certificate or not.
Giving CPR and the Patient Dies only to Realize later that they have a DNR
DNR stands for Do Not Resuscitate, which is an advanced order that protects patients from getting CPR or any other form of lifesaving practice if they don’t want it. It is signed in advance as sometimes the patient may be incapacitated and unable to communicate with the rescuers. Clinical staff may be prohibited from providing CPR to a patient who needs it since the hospital may not want to get into an unnecessary lawsuit. However, if you are just a bystander and don’t know about it, you cannot be sued. This is because the law assumes there is no way you could have known about the DNR and that you only acted in the best interest of the patient and in compliance with your professional training.
To conclude, learning CPR skills can turn out to be the best decision you ever made. Utilizing the CPR skills you have gained by saving lives regardless of the outcome can be satisfying. Furthermore, it is very hard for you to get into trouble since you are protected by the good Samaritan laws no matter the outcome of the CPR.