Basic life support: do not approach unless it’s safe to do so…


In medical education (and others) we’ve been using ‘simulation’ as a training tool. Anyone who has been on a Basic Life Support (BLS) course will be very familiar with the resuscitation mannequins used.

The first thing you are taught to do is to check for danger before approaching the collapsed patient. Of course, in the rainforest, there are unique dangers! Hang-on. Is that a snake? Our instructors go to extraordinary lengths to make each learning opportunity fun and interactive.

We’ve also got a superb mannequin which has LED indicators which measure if you are doing CPR correctly in terms of rate and depth of compression.

As an Emergency Physician, I’ll tell you that early CPR saves lives. Our instructors teach you to recognise cardiac arrest and then perform CPR correctly.

Often, in the field that’s all you have, but you’ll give that person a fighting chance if done early.

Medical studies show that in adults, correctly performed CPR with minimisation of time ‘off the chest’ improves outcome along with early defibrillation (electricity) in certain patients with abnormal heart rhythms. If there is NO electrical activity then defibrillation will do nothing despite what you see in films like Casino Royale (007)!

BTW, the snake was made by Dr Chris. I seriously think he had been spending too much time with the herpetologists. Thanks Chris!



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