My name is Jennifer and I am a Torontonian. But please, don’t hold it against me.
As a born-and-raised Toronto girl, I often find myself defending my hometown to other Canadians. ‘It’s not true that Torontonians aren’t friendly. We’re nice people, honest,’ has become my refrain when someone asks me where I’m from.
So you can imagine my chagrin when I learned that a recent study done by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital found that only 30 percent of Torontonians are willing to administer CPR to someone in trouble. According to researchers, that’s one of the lowest rates of bystander assistance in the developed world. Seriously? Was Coors Light right when they described Torontonians as cold in a recent ad campaign?
The study, which was done in collaboration with EMS services, fire services and paramedics across Ont., also found that a bystander who administers CPR has a 50 percent chance of saving the life of someone in cardiac arrest.
‘Even if you perform hands-only CPR, and focus on compressing the chest, you can give a victim of cardiac arrest as much as a 1 in 2 chance of surviving,’ says Dr. Marco Di Buono, Director of Research at
the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario in a press release, ‘on the contrary, doing nothing virtually guarantees the victim will not survive at all.’
Why do we do nothing? One reason could be that we don’t know how to help. Researchers found that, even while talking to a 911 dispatcher, many people don’t feel comfortable administering CPR or using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), a portable device that can be found in some public places such as airports.
When was the last time you brushed up on your CPR skills? If your answer is grade school, it’s definitely time for a refresher. Visit http://restart.heartandstroke.ca/ for information on courses or to order a CPR learning kit. Or, take a break from watching kittens on YouTube to check out a video on CPR basics.
If you’re concerned about being sued for lending a hand, check out your province’s Good Samaritan Act. For instance, in Ontario, bystanders who assist others with good intentions are not liable.