Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)


resuscitation (CPR)
By Dr. Atif Munir*

It has happened to me twice in last six months whilst travelling on motorway between Lahore & Islamabad so it’s more than a coincidence. Since bathing out of my junior doctor years the last cardiopulmonary resuscitation effort I participated in was a few years ago. My instincts would prompt me that I will really struggle now if I was to attempt to bring someone back to life if I had to…

Dr. Atif Munir

Let me just quote one of the instance three months ago when I was on route from Lahore to Islamabad. An army vehicle tuned turtle with two soldiers thrown out of the back of the open vehicle at motorway speed. As per our medical instincts I pullover and assess the situation. My disclosure that I am a doctor helps me make way through the mob (most of whom were silent spectators) to the casualties. One soldier injured but awake, other unconscious. Triaged my way to the unconscious and instinctively to my utmost surprise the ABC approach (airway, breathing, circulation) to save a life comes back like the ABC sequence comes back to a grade one child who has spent previous year cramming it all up. He had a pulse but was not breathing. Airway assessment showed mouth full of blood and a massively swollen tongue choking him. As I started mouth to mouth breathing rescue 1122 announced their presence. I knew what was required, cervical spine collar & an oropharyngeal airway, my God they had both. As I introduced the airway the guy started to breath, we had relieved his choking. The first spontaneous rise of his chest felt like a triumph I had never tasted before. We then immobilized his cervical spine and rushed him off the accident scene. All this in a span of five minutes, now that’s luck, service, miracle or whatever you may call it. I then assessed the injured guy who was fine in comparison with the other one but had multiple injuries by the look of it but got taken away for medical help as well once we got him up on a stretcher.

People on the scene and the remaining army men of the team thanked me like as if I was the man of the moment. My family waiting in the car for my return had an unforeseen proud in their eyes. I have no clue if that man survived or not however, I knew I had done my bit. I also came to know that day that cardiopulmonary resuscitation is no different to riding a bike or swimming, if you have done it before you can do it again anytime/anywhere.

I was trained abroad where all doctors even after completion of their medical training have to sharpen their skills of basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation once a year as an integral part of maintaining their professional competence. Every year this sounded like an unwanted ordeal but all those rehearsals proved their worth that day on the motorway.

I reach out to our national medical council to take such steps so that all healthcare professionals are trained for basic life support with an annual refresher course to keep this life saving skill fresh in their armoury. “One who saved one life, saved the whole humanity”.

*Dr Atif Munir FRCP
Assistant Professor Medicine
Fatima Memorial College of Medicine
& Dentistry, Lahore, Pakistan.

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