What happens if you do CPR wrong?
Everyone is worried about getting sued. One of the most common questions from students in my CPR classes was what if the victim dies or I do something wrong and the victim dies. Won’t I get sued? Spontaneous responders or bystanders are well protected by the Good Samaritan Law in most states in the U.S. It is not likely you would be sued for performing CPR on a stranger. Without any CPR it is highly likely the victim would die.
The law generally protects those who volunteer to save a life. When you perform an act of first aid and do not receive any monetary compensation, the law states you will be held harmless. It would be a good idea to research the Good Samaritan Law in your state to see how it applies to you. To learn more about the Good Samaritan Law check out our free online CPR course.
Another concern with the idea of you doing CPR wrong is the mental aspect. You feel like you did everything you could, and the victim still died. You begin to question your performance. What did I do wrong? Could I have done anything different. What you must remember is this is not your fault. He would have died without your lifesaving skills. When a person no longer has a pulse and they are not breathing they are technically dead. The amazing thing about CPR is if you can quickly restore blood flow through compressions and oxygen by breathing for the victim, you can help stabilize the victim until paramedics arrive on scene to begin advanced life support.
CPR success comes from the chain of survival including early 911 call, quick deliver of CPR by a spontaneous responder, quick arrival of paramedics and delivery to a qualified hospital. The victim’s survival depends on all these factors. So, it is not just up to one person, but rather a team of people.
Another worry that comes up related to this question is “Can I hurt them if I do CPR wrong?” Well the truth is you can hurt them if do CPR right. What I mean by that is you must push hard when doing compressions. This could fracture the sternum or ribs, depending on the age of the person. Of course, proper hand placement can help minimize the impact on the ribs.This is why a good CPR trainer is so important.
Bottomline is, every victim would be better off with early CPR as opposed to no CPR. That is why everyone should learn CPR through a CPR course.
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