You are sitting in a lounge talking to friends when, to your horror, someone at the next table shows signs of a cardiac arrest. Distressingly, you can only wring your hands in despair. Or tweet, depending on your age and response mechanism.

Now consider this: this can happen in your circle of family and friends.

Consider this as well: you can save a life by learning the simple technique of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which is a critical part of managing cardiac arrest. Doctors say that a correctly performed CPR increases chances of survival. But not many people know that anyone can learn the technique.

Training

Acknowledging the need for people to be trained in CPR and basic first aid, Nightingales Medical Trust established the Nightingales Lifesaving Services (NLS) in 2000. Nearly 15,000 people, including students and teachers, have been trained in CPR technique and nearly 19,000 people have been trained in basic first aid, said Radha S. Murthy, founder of the trust.

Adding to the effort of Nightingales, is 24-year-old software engineer Neha Kuduva, who has been motivating people through social networking sites to learn the technique and save lives.

Cardiac arrest

Ms. Kuduva realised how important it was to know CPR after receiving a scare last December when her uncle suffered a cardiac arrest while playing squash. “Fortunately there was a cardiologist on the spot. But how many people are that lucky? It was then that I decided to learn CPR. I am now motivating people to equip themselves with this life-saving skill,” Ms. Kuduva said.

She gets people together to undergo the four-hour training programme at Nightingales in Malleswaram every Sunday between 1.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. Three certified doctors train nearly 25 participants every week.

“Training is held in three sessions. During the first session, participants are taught how to resuscitate a person who suffers a cardiac arrest. In the second, they learn how to manage victims of drowning, electrocution, choking and accidents during the golden hour. And in the third one, they learn how to deal with child patients,” explained Ms. Kuduva.

Crucial skill

C.N. Manjunath, Director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology told The Hindu that it was extremely important for people to know CPR. “It is not confined to medical professionals alone. Anybody can learn it. Even with a few gentle massages in the first one or two minutes and sprinkling water, there are chances that the person will recover until medical help arrives,” he explained.

“It should be started as soon as possible and interrupted as little as possible. Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that is potentially reversible in certain cases if treated early. Immediate CPR will improve blood circulation and help revive the heart,” he said, and added that it was imperative that everyone learn the technique.

Nightingales can be contacted on 080-23342929/ 41244017.

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