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Bystander CPR

A tale of “stayin’ alive” or “tragedy?”

  • By: Joanna Loudon
  • Published: 04 May 2012
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e2710
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e2710

Every medical student remembers their ABC—airway, breathing, and circulation. We are all taught how to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when we are at medical school. We also see it being done on television and should feel confident in our ability to do it when necessary. How many of us, however, will be required to put this skill to the test in an out of hospital emergency? What is the evidence that there is a positive outcome for someone who has had an out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) and is given CPR by a person inexperienced in the technique? And would it be possible to assess the benefit of bystander CPR with the gold standard of a randomised controlled trial?

At the end of last year, as a second year medical student, my newly gained CPR skills and confidence were put to the test when a 50 year old man

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