Who Is Responsible for Performing CPR in a Medical Emergency?

TL;DR: CPR is crucial during cardiac arrests, which affect around 436,000 Americans annually, mostly in public spaces. Despite common perceptions, bystanders, not just medical professionals, have a responsibility to perform CPR. Immediate response can significantly increase survival rates. Proper CPR training for everyone, including medical personnel, workplace employees, school staff, and the public, is essential. Good Samaritan laws protect those who act in good faith. Enrolling in CPR training, such as in Boca Raton, Florida, ensures preparedness to save lives during emergencies.

Many people have heard of CPR and think doctors and nurses mostly do it. Still, they don’t realize that they, too, are responsible for performing it if they witness a medical emergency in everyday life. Many states are actively working to raise awareness about the importance of CPR and the benefits of proper training.

For instance, a 22-month-old boy in Florida nearly drowned in a lake when he was saved by a neighbor who knew CPR and didn’t hesitate to use it. Local first responders are using this example to motivate communities in Florida to learn about the importance of CPR and to get CPR certified. 

In this article, we’ll see why everyone has the ability and the responsibility to perform CPR when the situation calls for it. Let’s learn who is responsible for performing CPR in a medical emergency and encourage more people to become trained and be ready to save lives.

Professional Medical Personnel and Their CPR Responsibilities

Medical professionals frequently encounter situations that require them to use CPR. Their job demands that they are always prepared to start chest compressions or use a defibrillator. This professional responsibility is a fundamental aspect of their roles in healthcare, providing patients with critical care during emergencies.

EMTs and Paramedics

The primary role of these first responders includes assessing the situation, providing initial care, and transporting patients to medical facilities. When they respond to a call where someone’s heart is not pumping, EMTs and paramedics must quickly start CPR to lower the odds of neurological damage

That’s why, according to Florida Law, EMTs must hold a valid CPR certification. This requirement ensures they possess the necessary skills to perform CPR correctly and are up to date with the most effective techniques.

Hospital Staff

Doctors and nurses must be ready to perform CPR immediately, whether working in the emergency room, intensive care unit, or other departments. Doctors lead the medical team and make quick decisions during emergencies, including calling for CPR when needed.

Nurses, often at the patient’s bedside, are usually the first to recognize signs of cardiac arrest and initiate CPR until additional help arrives. It’s important to note that medical personnel must always perform CPR unless the patient has a Do Not Resuscitate order. DNR orders are legal documents that trump even the moral and ethical responsibility medical professionals have always to perform CPR.

The Role of Bystanders in Performing CPR

When you think about CPR, you might assume it’s a skill only medical professionals need. However, the responsibility to perform CPR often falls on regular people. Most cardiac arrests happen at home, and a significant 17.3% of them occur in public spaces full of passersby.

Despite this, bystanders and witnesses perform CPR in only 46% of cardiac arrest cases. Many people don’t know how to do CPR or are unaware it’s their responsibility to help. They don’t realize that immediately starting chest compressions can stabilize victims and help them regain consciousness.

The Importance Of Immediate Response

The window for effective CPR is small but critically important. Studies show that starting CPR immediately can increase the victim’s survival rate by three times. Cardiac arrest stops blood flow to vital organs, and without intervention, brain damage can occur within minutes. The first few minutes are vital, and your quick action will help oxygenated blood reach the person’s heart and brain.

Who Is Responsible For Doing CPR in Specific Settings

Medical emergencies can strike anywhere, anytime, and affect anyone. Whether in a bustling workplace, a quiet school, or a crowded public space, everyone present is responsible for assisting the person in medical distress. Knowing who is responsible for administering CPR in various settings can make the situation more manageable.

At The Workplace

Nearly 10,000 cardiac arrests occur at workplaces each year. Despite this alarming statistic, almost 50% of employees can’t locate an AED at their place of work. While every employee shares the responsibility to help a colleague in distress, such a lack of awareness can delay critical response time during an emergency.

That includes calling 911, locating and using an AED if available, and providing first aid and CPR if trained. Employers should facilitate regular training sessions and ensure that all employees know the location of emergency equipment.

At Schools

Children are not exempt from medical emergencies, including cardiac arrest. Recognizing this, states like Florida have laws requiring students from grades 9 to 11 to receive basic CPR training.

Coaches also have a significant responsibility to their student-athletes. Florida is proposing a new law that mandates all coaches working in public schools to have valid CPR certification. This requirement acknowledges the role coaches play in overseeing the health and safety of their athletes.

In Public Spaces

Places like malls and airports often have designated security personnel and other staff trained to handle medical emergencies. These individuals are typically the first responders in such situations. Security personnel and other staff should also be familiar with the locations of AEDs and trained in their use.

But even though there may be a security guard around, the public still needs to share the responsibility of trying to help. During such an emergency, you can always call 911 and be ready to take over the chest compression if the resuscitator gets tired and needs to switch.

The Legal Aspect: Good Samaritan Laws

Florida doesn’t want people to refrain from performing CPR due to fear of legal consequences. That’s why Good Samaritan laws exist. They protect individuals who step in to provide emergency care, including CPR. If you’re worried about being sued for trying to help someone, you should know that Florida’s Good Samaritan Act will protect you if you act in good faith.

These laws shield you from legal liability, provided you don’t expect a reward and don’t act recklessly or with gross negligence. That means that as long as you’re genuinely trying to help and not intentionally causing further harm, you’re protected from lawsuits. Performing CPR is a lifesaving intervention, and knowing that the law is on your side removes a barrier to taking action.

CPR Training and Certification

Learning how to perform CPR effectively will prepare you to act within seconds if you ever find yourself in a situation where someone needs immediate medical assistance or compressions. You can easily find local CPR training providers and enroll in one of their classes to learn this skill.

Before signing up, check if they are aligned with organizations like the AHA or the Red Cross to get the most comprehensive and accepted CPR certification. These courses teach you the basics of chest compressions and rescue breaths and provide hands-on practice with manikins to best prepare students for real-life scenarios.

Step Up To The Plate With CPR Training in Boca Raton

Performing CPR is a shared responsibility among medical professionals and the general public. Our communities become safer when more people know CPR and embrace this responsibility. You don’t have to be a doctor to make a difference during a medical emergency. By learning CPR, you can help yourself help someone else in critical need.

If you’re ready to take this on, consider taking a CPR training course in Boca Raton, Florida. Learn the fundamentals of CPR and first aid and practice using an AED. Apply your skills on manikins and be ready to transfer them to the real world. Accept the challenge and contact us to set up a class today!