Raising Awareness of Women’s CPR: A Call to Action

Raising Awareness of Women’s CPR: A Call to Action

The Importance of CPR

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a critical, lifesaving technique that can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival after cardiac arrest. Despite its significance, there remains a significant gap in the application of CPR on women, often due to societal myths and misconceptions. It’s crucial to understand that doing nothing in a cardiac emergency is far more harmful than attempting CPR.

The Social Action, Responsibility, and Heroism Act 2015 (SARAH)

The SARAH Act was established to address concerns about legal liability for individuals who act in good faith to help others. It reassures people that if they take positive action to help in emergencies, courts will consider the context of their actions should anything go wrong. This act encourages more people to step up and perform CPR without the fear of legal repercussions.

Women and CPR: Dispelling the Myths

Recent research presented by the Montreal Heart Institute at the European Emergency Medicine Congress highlighted a worrying trend: bystanders are significantly less likely to perform CPR on women suffering cardiac arrest in public places. In a study of 39,000 cardiac arrest cases, only 50% received CPR from bystanders, with women making up a small proportion. The reasons for this disparity are multifaceted:

  • Fear of Inappropriate Contact: Many bystanders hesitate to perform CPR on women due to the fear of touching their chest without consent. This hesitation can cost lives.
  • Stigma of Excessive Force: There is a concern that using excessive force may cause injury, leading some to refrain from performing CPR.
  • Lack of Knowledge: There is a general lack of awareness that women can also suffer from cardiac arrest and need immediate CPR.

Doing Nothing Causes More Harm

The message is clear: never be afraid to save a life. The hesitation to perform CPR on women needs to be addressed urgently. Educating the public about the necessity and effectiveness of CPR, regardless of gender, can save countless lives.

Call to Action

We must come together to dispel the myths surrounding CPR and ensure that everyone, regardless of gender, receives the lifesaving care they need in an emergency. Training programs should emphasise that CPR is essential for both men and women and address any misconceptions that might prevent someone from acting.