Marathon is getting popular in Hong Kong with people from all walks of life participating in this test of fitness and endurance.
However, long-distance running is a very strenuous activity, and there have been cases of runners who collapse and fall unconscious during or after the race.
A cardiac arrest happens when a person’s heart stops pumping blood, causing the victim to stop breathing normally.
Regardless of the reasons behind a cardiac arrest, there are some ways we could do to try to save the victim’s life.
If a person becomes unconscious, we must stay calm and look around to check if everything is safe for everyone at the scene.
Then we should seek emergency help immediately by calling 999, reporting precisely the exact location and condition of the victim.
Such information is valuable so the paramedics will know what to expect and what equipment to bring to the scene.
If the paramedics have confirmed that the unconscious patient is not breathing and has no pulse, they will perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at once.
CPR is an emergency procedure of manual chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing to keep a limited supply of blood and oxygen circulating around the patient’s body, and such procedure should only be performed when someone is unconscious, not breathing and has no pulse.
Foreign case studies on cardiac arrests caused by ventricular fibrillation (VF) find that victims for every minute that passes without CPR would see their chances of survival 4 to 6 percent lower than those who have.
CPR is conclusive for one’s survival; however, early CPR is required as only 30 percent, at best, of heart pumping functions could be delivered even for good-quality chest compressions.
In order to perform effective CPR, one has to learn how to do so through professional training and ample practice.
There are some organizations that provide certificates of first-aid training course that are recognized by the government. They include Hong Kong St. John Ambulance, Hong Kong Red Cross, Occupation Safety and Health Council and Auxiliary Medical Service.
While untrained persons might not know how to perform CPR, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing they can do in the face of an unconscious person suffering from cardiac arrest.
According to the chain of survival, the first two of the five steps to saving a life – early recognition of a cardiac arrest and early access to emergency assistance from hospital – could be achieved by everyone.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 14
Translation by John Chui
[Chinese version 中文版]
– Contact us at [email protected]