By PAUL CRAIG
Special to the Gazette
If someone around you shows signs of a heart attack or stroke, don’t wait for a moment, call 911. Right now. Immediately.
Time is of the essence. Clot busters have improved enormously in recent years. These are administered in the hospital. Thus, it’s important to get to a hospital fast
What signs should you look for you look for? Anguish, confusion are two.
If you see someone in trouble check if they are alert. If they’re dead it doesn’t matter what you do. Call 911. Then begin resuscitation. In today’s world they recommend compression of the chest. Place your hand fingers or fist on the sternum (breastbone). Compress by about 2 inches. Repeat 100 times per minute. This is fast and you are likely to get tired. Look for someone else to relieve you. If a child or baby is involved don’t press so hard.
See if there is a CPR machine close by. Open the box. It will talk to you and give instructions. Listen to the machine. Do what it says.
Symptoms of cardiac arrest include shortness of breath, back pain, neck pain, arms pain. If you suspect cardiac arrest call 911. It’s way better to call and be wrong than to not call. The professionals will be forgiving of an erroneous call.
The rules on how long you can wait to get to the hospital keep changing. Modern clot busters are miraculous. Even if it seems to be a long time it’s worth getting someone to the hospital
Pam Dodson is a trained nurse who has been doing emergency work for years. In her talk to Martinez Rotary She emphasized the importance of calling 911 if you suspect there might be a problem. We have great support here in Contra Costa County. Use it. Check out www.cchealth.org/ems/heartsafe.php