Dr. David Efron is used to dealing with serious medical cases in his role as director of trauma and chief of the division of trauma and surgical critical care at Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Department of Surgery.
He never expected to experience such a case in his own home.
That was exactly what happened a few months back after her returned home to find his wife, Anne, unconscious and in cardiac arrest. He called 911 and immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, until Baltimore County EMS providers arrived.
The combination of CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator by EMS providers helped save Anne Efron’s life. The Efrons joined other survivors, along with county leaders and members of the county fire department, June 12 at the Franklin Fire Station in Reisterstown to raise awareness of the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest and the importance of immediate use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation in giving victims a chance at survival.
“This says a lot about CPR,” Dr. Efron said. “What I provided is something everyone can do, and it’s so very important in saving lives.”
Last week’s event also provided the opportunity for the county to launch its new “hands only” CPR initiative called, “Lend a Hand, Save a Life.” This CPR approach is done without rescue breathing and consists of three steps:
- Call 911.
- Push hard and fast on the center of the chest.
- If possible, use a portable defibrillator, also known as an AED.
The event was also tied into “National CPR/AED Awareness Week.”
According to the county fire department, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the U.S., with 350,000 Americans dying annually from it.
County Fire Assistant Chief Kyrle Preis said studies show civilians are more likely to perform life-saving assistance if they have the option for hands-only CPR.
“This is as effective as traditional CPR in most cases,” Preis said.
For more information about hands-only CPR, including finding out how to take a class, visit http://baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/fire/ems/handsonlycpr.