Bystander CPR – Moral Obligation?

Bystander CPR

Nearly 20,000 people go into cardiac arrest outside of hospital every single year in Canada. Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of those individuals survive.

One of the leading causes is that 75 percent of those people do not receive bystander CPR.

In many of these cases the cardiac arrest is witnessed, but the bystanders do not have any training in CPR. Bystanders in this situation often fail to offer assistance because of the belief they do not have the necessary skills to act, and potentially they may cause more harm than good.

Recently, the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) has spoken out to say “every Canadian should be willing to offer CPR when they witness someone in cardiac arrest — even if they’ve never been trained in it.”

bystander cpr


It is clear that any sort of assistance provided can increase the chances of survival for those who experience out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

The CAEP clearly wants to push the expectations of CPR further. “It must become a moral obligation and a social expectation that bystanders will perform CPR when they witness a cardiac arrest.

Many more lives can be saved, but we need stronger inducements and a systematic approach to ensure more people in the community are prepared and ready to perform CPR,” says the group.

The CAEP is looking for the next step to be mandatory CPR training in all Canadian high schools. They even go as far to say that it should be a requirement of graduation.

Although CPR is not a guarantee for survival, it is believed that up to 2000 people a year could be saved if all Canadians were taught how to properly give CPR.

For those who haven’t had formal training, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada has updated its guidelines in 2010 to simplify CPR training in the hopes that more bystanders will be willing to give CPR.

It is now recommended that untrained bystanders who don’t want to give mouth-tomouth resuscitation can simply offer chest compressions to adults in cardiac arrest.

If you are interested in learning CPR or would like to update your certification, contact us.

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