Physicians Group Urges Better Preparedness

By Steve Rensberry, Editor

The American College of Emergency Physicians issued a rather stern warning this week about how under-prepared most Americans are for any kind of serious medical emergency. That warning was prompted by a new public poll, they said, which showed that a majority of respondents believed there were not confident enough to offer assistance in the event of a mass shooting (68 percent), if someone has been shot (62 percent), if someone nearby stops breathing (52 percent), or if someone has severe bleeding (50 percent).

The fact that such scenarios are even on the radar and a serious topic for discussion is disturbing in-and-of itself, at least to me, in a sociological sense. All things being said, however, the physician group’s concerns are worth some attention given current trends. “Anyone can become a first responder in an emergency,” ACEP President William Jaquis said. “The first person on the scene of a medical emergency is rarely a medical professional and there are few basic skills that anyone can learn, that could save a life or significantly improve the chances of survival while waiting for professionals to arrive.”

According to the poll, “less than half of respondents reported feeling prepared to apply a tourniquet or move an endangered victim to safety, while only one in four are prepared to use an automated external defibrillator in case of cardiac emergencies,” the organization said in an Oct. 28 press release.

We modern homo sapiens do have at least one tool at our disposal that those in the pre-2000 years never had: cell phones at the ready that can look up important information, including contact numbers, in a matter of seconds. In our fast-moving, complex society however, the more prepared we are for an emergency the better.  For its part, the ACEP is working to educate communities and people through a one-hour training course called “Until Help Arrives,” now in a pilot stage. The Times-Tribune has carried stories before about CPR courses and various safety-oriented training sessions in the area, but if you are involved with, teach, or know of an opportunity yourself, please let us know and we’ll put it on the story docket!

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