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9-1-1 Dispatchers: Improving the Chain of Survivability with CPR

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I’m a full-time freelance writer and while I write for many people on a wide variety of topics, the work that I do here for Empowher is perhaps the most rewarding because it has the power to change -- and sometimes save -- lives.

This week, research and reality coincided in a very real way that brought home the power of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, and a well-trained 9-1-1 dispatcher to save lives.

My daughter’s roommate is a 36-year old male. Earlier this week, he came home from work and didn’t feel well. He went to the store, purchased a common over-the-counter antacid and came home and took it. What happened next was frightening to say the least.

According to my daughter, he looked at her and told her to get the kids up because she needed to take him to the hospital. Before she could react, his next words were, "Wait -- Call 9-1-1," and then he simply collapsed in the floor.

The 9-1-1 operators were outstanding and walked her through the CPR process while they waited for the emergency personnel to arrive. The quick actions of the 9-1-1 operator in correctly assessing the situation, and then instructing her how to apply CPR in a stressful situation, saved a life.

According to a new scientific statement issued by the American Heart Association, or AHA, in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, the 9-1-1 dispatchers can improve the survival rates for cardiac arrest victims by doing exactly what the dispatcher did above.

The 9-1-1 dispatcher followed AHA resuscitation guidelines by correctly assessing the situation, and then helping my daughter -- the bystander -- perform CPR immediately until help arrived.

By helping bystanders perform CPR immediately rather than waiting until EMS arrives, the AHA believes that the lives of more victims can be saved. This certainly proved to be true in the case of my daughter’s roommate.

According to the lead author of AHA’s new scientific statement, E. Brooke Lerner, PhD, of the new scientific statement, “It isn’t as common as you think, that you call 9-1-1 and they tell you what to do.” (AHA 1)

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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