Myths Vs. Facts

How well do you know your stuff?

Shouldn’t I check for a pulse? What if they just fainted?

  • If they don’t need CPR don’t worry, they will tell you right away! Checking for a pulse takes up precious time when you only have 4 minutes to start compression. Shake and shout and if they don’t respond, start compression!
  • No need to check for breathing/pulse, remove clothes or check for a swallowed tongue.

What about the breathing?

  • Their blood is still rich with oxygen, so need to waste time giving them more with breaths.
  • No need to count, just compress hard and fast in the center of their chest while singing “Staying Alive” and TRIPLE their chances of surviving.

Can they sue?

  • If someone collapses is not responding, the Good Samaritan Law Protects you from being sued.
  • “No person who shall administer emergency care in good faith at or near the scene of an emergency, as defined herein, shall be held liable for any civil damages as a result of any action or omission by such person in administering said care, except for gross negligence.”

Will I do more harm than good?

  • Doing nothing means they will most likely join the 90% of victims who didn’t make it to the hospital.
  • Even attempting CPR with no experience is better than doing nothing.
  • It is possible to break ribs, although highly uncommon, but when they survive with a couple of broken ribs they will still be thanking you for saving their life.

Shouldn’t I just drive them to the hospital?

  • When you call an ambulance, you are summoning a heart care unit, so in 20 minutes they can get the heart restarted into it’s regular rhythm preventing further damage. You can keep them at a salvageable by acting as their heart during CPR, but if you don’t do CPR and drive them to the hospital there will be no rhythm to save when you get there.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest causes the heart to stop beating/”flatline”/Asystole rhythm, and the AED brings their heart beat back.

  • Sudden Cardiac arrest causes vascular fibrillation (flutter heart beat rhythm), but does not stop the heart beat. An AED (automat
    ed external Defibrillator) is used to shock the heart out of the fibrillation rhythm and back to normal.

If they don’t come back after a few minutes of compression, I should stop.

  • By doing compression, you are pumping their heart for them until the ambulance arrives. If you stop pumping, so does the blood delivering oxygen to vital organs, like the brain, until the ambulance team can shock the heart back into pumping itself.
  • If and AED is found before the ambulance arrives, only stop compression when it tells you to when analyzing for a heart rhythm, and then resume compression immediately when it tells you.

Have other questions or want to spread the word about these myths and the Project Heart Start program?

Contact Jessica Lucero Takach @ 505-881-8195 or

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