CPR Trainers Must Address Uncomfortable Racial Issues In Order To Save Lives

If you have a heart attack in the street, you have a 9.5% chance of surviving. But according to a recent study from the American Heart Association, it depends where you are: survival rates range from 16% in Seattle to 0.2% in Detroit. The data shows that the primary factor affecting survival is race. Whites are far more likely to survive a heart attack than Latinos or Blacks. The reasons for this are social, not medical. There may be taboos against touching someone of the opposite gender, particularly a woman's chest. Touching someone of the same gender can lead to homophobic harassment. In ethnically mixed neighborhoods, language can be a barrier. Bystanders may not want to identify themselves to authorities. In high crime areas, people do not want to get involved. The main factor is that in poorer neighborhoods, fewer people have CPR training. In affluent white neighborhoods, there is a 65% chance that someone collapsing in the street will get CPR from a bystander. In poor black neighborhoods, it is under 10%. Comilla Sasson of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, primary author of the AHA study, advocates that heart attack survival rates would be improved by targeting poor and ethnic areas. Barriers to CPR training can be as simple as when and where the training is held. We need to shift our thinking to target the areas where it is most needed. However, race has recently become an issue in CPR training. In February 2013, Nurse Kimberly Thompson of Orange Park, FL, claimed that at Plantation Oaks Elementary School, CPR training manikins were assigned based on skin color. Her bi-racial 10-year old daughter was given a black manikin, which, said Thompson, led to her being racially teased. You don't get to pick the victim that you're going to work on, so why are we racially selecting mannequins? They should all be one color, blue, orange, green - she stated. That's the approach taken by manufacturers like CPR Prompt and Basic Buddy who offer manikins in blue or red. Others like Simulaids, Prestan, and Laerdal use a variety of natural skin colors. Volunteers and consumers have told us they prefer to learn CPR on mannequins that reflect their populations, - said Metro Jacksonville's AHA Vice President, Rebecca White. This gives CPR trainers both an option and a dilemma. They can use unrealistic red or blue training manikins, or they can use more realistic manikins, but risk being accused of racism. CPR training can, and does, save lives. It is vital to train more people, especially in poor and ethnic neighborhoods. For CPR training programs to succeed, race must not be seen as a barrier. For some, the color of the training manikin will affect their inclination to undergo training, or their attitude to the instructor. CPR trainers will need to evolve strategies to address racial issues if survival rates for black and Latino patients are to be brought in line with survival rates for whites. For Details:- Matthew Henry First Aid Mart Email - [email protected] Phone - (760)-944-1048 Website - http://www.firstaidmart.com/