Wholly Healthy: Let’s All Learn Simple CPR

This month we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus for the redemption of our sins. However, that magnificent event was also meant to show us that, for believers, death is not the final event. The resurrection of Jesus proved that there was hope for humans to escape the terrifying bonds of mortality itself.

I wonder sometimes how much of medical science is actually an echo of that event. Certainly, modern medical science has done an amazing job of saving human lives, especially in snatching some people from sudden death. However, we’re not perfect by any means. Even the best earthly physician loses every patient in the end. (After all, as my partner Doug once said, the death rate “is the same as ever: one per customer.”) But we continue to push the boundaries of life and death, to strive toward physical immortality.

I don’t believe that is sacrilege. I believe it’s our way of emulating the Master. Our grandparents (or their parents) during the Great Depression all knew people who died of diphtheria, polio, pneumonia or influenza. How wonderful that those diseases hold less sway now than then. I’m confident that our efforts are in God’s divine plan.

I believe firmly that God calls us to work hard, to strive, to fight against the death that so plagues us all. I believe that, in the spirit of Jesus, we are supposed to fight disease and prolong life and provide comfort and do everything we can that flies in the face of death and pain.

And since we celebrate the resurrection, let’s talk about rescuing people from death, shall we? Life-saving actions aren’t only for physicians, nurses or paramedics. So let me suggest that all of my readers learn to do simple CPR. According to the American Heart Association, there are 338,000 episodes of sudden cardiac death in America each year. The majority of these occur in the home.

When I first took CPR training many years ago, it was a little bit complicated. Open mouth, sweep for foreign body, alternate breathing with compressions, switch with partner, do-si-do, etc. Fortunately, since 2008, “compression-only” CPR has been considered the procedure of choice. Basically, it’s “Call 911, put hands in mid-chest, push fast and hard.” If you don’t believe me, here’s a link to the American Heart Association that can teach you in one minute — a mere 60 seconds of your time: http://goo.gl/uDgmt.

The odds of survival go up significantly when proper CPR is given to victims of cardiac arrest. Like medicine in general, it isn’t perfect — not even close. But it’s one little way we can all help to cheat death, if only for a while.

Another is for your church or other organization or business to purchase and learn to use a defibrillator. It’s the device that shocks hearts out of dangerous rhythms in cardiac arrest. (If you’ve ever watched a medical thriller, you’ve seen it used.) Modern defibrillators are remarkably simple and can also be life-saving, especially in conjunction with CPR. (In fact, CPR compressions keep the heart electrically “ready” to be shocked.)

If you want to learn more about defibrillators, check with your local rescue squad, fire department or EMS service. They can help guide you through the process of purchasing a defibrillator and learning to use it.

This Easter, what better way to celebrate Jesus’ victory over death than to learn some simple, life-saving skills? (And in the process, with CPR and defibrillators, you can kick death in the shins.)

Happy Easter, all. He is risen indeed!