(05/24/07 — RALEIGH) – Two breaths and 15 compressions. That’s what most are taught when learning CPR, but that could change. Some Wake County paramedics now say skip the rescue breathing, and the success rate proves it’s working.
Seventy-four year old Ben Blalock and Wake County paramedic Larry Barham haven’t been friends long, but they have a very special bond after a fateful meeting in July.
Blalock said he and his wife had stopped at Bo jangle’s for breakfast. At the same time, Barham, who was returning from vacation, also stopped for breakfast.
Blalock collapsed inside the restaurant. He was suffering from a heart attack and went into cardiac arrest.
Barham jumped into action and immediately started CPR. “It was effective,” he said. “He’d start moving his extremities, he’d start opening his eyes.”
But what paramedics say saved Blalock was the type of CPR Barham used. It’s slightly different from traditional CPR.
It’s called compression-only CPR which means you place your hands in the center of the chest and begin compressions uninterrupted until help arrives. Paramedics say it’s simple, easy and saves lives.
Wake County EMS says its resuscitation success rate has almost doubled since it introduced the compression-only technique. They point out that for an inexperienced person, there’s much less to worry about under such stressful circumstances.
Fortunately for Blalock, the technique worked, giving him a new lease on life and a new friend.
Wake County’s not alone in using compression-only CPR. Durham, Orange and Cumberland also recommend it for the general public.
The American Heart Association still officially recommends breathing and compression, but it won’t argue with the success rate of the new approach.