Have you ever done CPR off duty?

  1. All these current threads about CPR got me wondering, how many nurses have been off duty and had to do CPR? Have you ever been at the mall, or in a store, or at a ballgame, etc. and had to do CPR on an individual? If so, were you hesitant? Did you worry about liability or did you react without even thinking? Was it successful? Did you go with the individual to the hospital or ever hear from them again?
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  2. 45 Comments

  3. by   puggymae
    A friend and I performed CPR on a man who collapsed in a parking lot while waiting for EMS to arrive (he was short of breath and having left arm pain). It took twenty looooonnnnngggg minutes for the EMS to get there. Paramedics took over from us. We did not go to the hospital. He died two days later (had cardiac by-pass surgery at the hospital). His wife found out who we were and contacted us by phone, and card. And for the past two years she has sent us flowers on the anniversary of that day.

    We did not hesitate when other people hollered at us "can you help this man?" When he became unresponsive and we started CPR I asked a bystander if I could use his T-shirt, and I used one layer of that between his mouth and mine after we had completed five cycles. I didn't worry about any possible litagation - only that this really young looking man might die if I didn't try to help him.

    One thing that surprised me was a bystander said to us - "He would have just laid there and died if you hadn't come along - I would NEVER put my mouth on a strangers!" My friend said - "I'll remember that if I ever happen to see YOU on the sidewalk."

    I have also stopped to render aid at horrific accidents on the interstate. I would feel true guilt if I didn't at least offer to help some one who needed help.
  4. by   mickeypat
    I was still in nursing school and pregnant when I had to do CPR in a store parking lot! I was the only one there at the time and a by-stander did stop and helped me. It was unsuccessful, but I remembered from that day when K+ is high, it's not good!

    Funny part was when the ambulance got there, my mother in law at the time got really nervous, cause she thought the ambulance was for me...
  5. by   BusyBeeRN
    I remember doing CPR on a 4 y/o child, a stranger who had been pulled from a pool in a hotel. At the time I was still a student nurse, but I was the only other adult besides the frantic mother, and just happened upon the scene as the boy was being pulled from the water. He was unconscious and not breathing. I had barely remembered what to do, but somehow managed to quickly assess the situation and deliver the 5 compressions to 1 breath. I kept this up for 8 loonnngggggggg minutes until paramedics arrived and intubated him. In the midst of it he vomited in my mouth, first came the water, then came the last meal he had. What was I supposed to do? STOP? I continued, turning his head during compressions, a crowd developed and someone with a napkin kept wiping away the vomit between breaths. My efforts saved his life. He just turned 8 years old, his mom became a nurse in the years inbetween, and I attended her graduation with tears in my eyes.
  6. by   CCL"Babe"
    Yes several times.
  7. by   caroladybelle
    My cousin, her mother and I were shopping for supplies at a Walmart - my father had died and it was for the wake. My cousin (early 40s) literally dropped dead in the aisle. I did CPR until there was another nurse that offered to help - my Aunt told her that my father had just died. She was resuscitated by EMS, but died a day later, on the vent.

    We are from a small town. The local paper came out twice per week. Her death notice was in the Monday paper - came out after Daddy's funeral. Cousin had actually been shopping for groceries, and mowing a neighbor's lawn before our trip to Walmart - everyone was justed shocked and couldn't believe was actually her.

    You hear about how people have "silent" heart attacks, and that younger people are more likely to have fatal MIs due to lack of collateral circulation. The few tests that were run before death showed evidence of two massive MIs.

    How much do you want to bet that she was having chest/back/arm pain and thought that it was d/t mowing or carrying groceries, or something banal like that?

    She had NO cardiac history.
  8. by   PANurseRN1
    Yes, but not on a human.
  9. by   nurse4theplanet
    Wow. I am so glad that I started this thread. These stories are great.
  10. by   ann945n
    I think these stories were great but I dont think I would ever give CPR on someone without a mouth guard. Gotta protect yourself first....
  11. by   burn out
    Yes I had to do cpr on my own mother. I had gone to her apartment as usual in the morning but she was still in bed and said she wasn't feeling good, she had chest pain and back pain all night and had taken ntg but had gotten no relief and was sick to her stomach. While I was calling 911 she collapsed and I had to start CPR. There was no equipment, no one to help
    (i remember screaming for help while doing compressions, there was no suction and I tried pulling the secretions out of the back of her throat with my hands) EMS took forever..it was a fight for her between me and GOD ...and he won.
  12. by   anne74
    I've never had to do it. But I fear that if the situation ever arrose, I would freeze or not do it correctly! Simple reviewing it once every 2 yrs - but never actually doing it - makes it a bit foggy. Then throw in the fact that they change the rules constantly, they're different for a child vs. adult, etc. I guess I would be better doing it than someone with no experience, but I'm not really confident that I would do it correctly.

    So those who have done it - do the actions just come to you?
  13. by   burn out
    Yes the actions were pretty natural but I have been an ICU nurse for 20 years and have been a part of many codes and taken care of many critically ill patients and I get bitter because I was so ineffective in helping the most important person in my life.
  14. by   fetch33
    Almost would be my answer. We were on our way out of Florida and stopped at a Cracker Barrel for breakfast. That restaurant is so compartmentalized that I didn't realize what was going on. A family member who had a better view of things said 'there is CPR going on over there'. I grabbed my mask out of my purse and ran around the screen. Sure enough, there were two women doing CPR on a big guy. I offered them my face mask... they declined :uhoh21: . I offered to do CPR and they told me they were both nurses. EMS came and defibrillated the guy a few times and finally scooped and ran. There was a hospital literally around the corner. I am sure the guy didn't make it though. The staff had the place spiffed up in a jiffy and there were patrons seated there as we left. Kind of weird... life goes on.

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