Often seen as the go-to procedure for resuscitating drowning victims, CPR does not come without risks if it is performed inadequately. Our drowning attorneys delve into this topic in the below article.
The first guidelines for performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR, were originally drafted in the '70s. Since then, countless lives have been saved by the famed rescue procedure, particularly when it comes to drowning incidents.
Yet, positive outcomes have not prevented chest compressions & mouth-to-mouth ventilation from being questioned by researchers and CPR experts over recent decades. As a result, the effective applications of CPR, as well as the specific steps to follow, have seen some adjustments.
Regrettably, much research has also found that even professionals are performing CPR inadequately. Whether the compressions are too slow, or too "shallow", the effort is not completely effective in its goal of circulating the blood until the heart can be restarted with a defibrillator.
Below, we discuss some of the complications that can arise when CPR is performed incorrectly.
One of the biggest concerns with poor CPR technique is that more effective rescue methods could be used in its place.
CPR is often the default reaction when helping someone who has suffered cardiac arrest. Indeed, it's what most of us have been taught in weekend-long CPR courses or at least learned from movies and television. But if the use of emergency devices such as an AED is being delayed because CPR is being performed, then it's quite likely that CPR is causing more harm than good in this scenario.
The goal of CPR is to perform, at least in part, the everlasting job of the heart - to pump blood. No kind of physical manipulation can be as efficient as the heart at pumping blood through the thousands of miles of blood vessels in an individual's body. Even CPR performed "to the T" of guidelines can't compete in efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to perfusion. For this reason, if there's a way of getting the heart back on task after it's stopped, then that should be the first choice.
Although it has reportedly happened in the fast, CPR does not restart the heart. The electric impulse provided by an AED or other defibrillation device should. Once more, if rescuers are foregoing the use of an AED because CPR is underway, then avoidable tissue death and particularly brain damage could be occurring.
The health complications associated with CPR, as one could expect, are generally associated with the areas and anatomical structures that are stressed by chest compressions and ventilation.
For example, thoracic complications such as rib fractures, fractures of the sternum, and internal bleeding (anterior mediastinal hemorrhage) are often common. The manifestation of such injuries does not necessarily entail improper CPR techniques. In fact, most people do not press down on the victim's chest hard enough when they are performing chest compressions.
Upper airway complications can also be expected. It can be surmised that these result from mouth-to-mouth ventilation and the fact that rescuers are trying to 'force' air into the victim's lungs. Additionally, injuries to the abdominal organs (abdominal visceral complications) occur in as many as 30% of individuals on whom CPR is performed.
These severe complications can be interpreted as evidence for the argument that CPR should not be performed. This is not a misguided assumption, but it also discounts the fact that, while CPR has become popularized in society, one should always remember that it is a last-ditch procedure attempted when no other, better rescue techniques are available.
If an individual who received proper CPR training, and who was serving in a rescue or emergency response capacity, performs improper CPR for one reason or another, they could be held responsible by victims who suffer physical damages at their hands.
If a victim could have been saved had adequate CPR been performed, but instead they perished as a direct result of improper CPR techniques, then the victim's family has the option of seeking damages via a lawsuit in compensation for their trauma and loss.
If you believe you may have a case for filing an improper CPR lawsuit, get in touch with our experienced legal team today. In a free consultation, we'll analyze your case and explain the options at your disposal. Afterward, you'll have the understanding and critical information you need to make such an important decision.