Richard Ord: Mouth to mouth with the Iron Lady

The Iron Lady?
The Iron Lady?
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WOULD you resuscitate a dying chicken? That was the question I raised last week after the Echo revealed a fireman had helped revive a chicken overcome by smoke by giving it oxygen.

Maybe I would, just for comic value mind you … and the chance to get in the paper (Chicken Hero Honoured by Bird Society).

At a guess, I would have reckoned about one in every seven people finding themselves in a life or death situation with a chicken would give it a go.

Yet, according to latest statistics, fewer than that would step in to save a human life.

A survey, commissioned by the St John Ambulance and other like-minded charities, reveals that only 14 per cent of the public would act to administer CPR to help, wait for it, a dying child!

Shocking stats, I’m sure you’d agree. I listened to a follow up radio show in which Clive James, training development manager at St John Ambulance, went onto reveal that only 38 per cent surveyed would step in to help a member of their family.

“Having a go,” he said, “is better than doing nothing and could save a life.”

He should know, of course, but the statistics don’t tell the whole story. While few would attempt CPR, the overwhelming majority in the survey (77 per cent) said they would call the emergency services.

Surely that’s the first thing people should do?

If I collapsed in the street, I think I’d rather bystanders phoned for help.

I mean, I don’t want a bunch of rank amateurs taking turns “having a go” over my prone body (“Go on, you pull his legs, two of you flap his arms about and I’ll blow into his ears. Let’s see what happens. Nothing … ah, what the hell, someone better phone an ambulance. He’s turning blue”).

Not surprisingly, the majority of those surveyed were put off by the idea of giving mouth to mouth.

The real issue here is the number of people who do not have even the most basic of first aid skills.

And while I take issue with the survey, I applaud St John’s Ambulance workers and their attempts to encourage more people to learn first aid. I signed up to do a course myself this week.

I may, however, have found the reason behind the CPR malaise.

A photo in the Echo this week reveals what looks very much like a CPR training dummy in the new Integrated Critical Care Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital. Who, I ask, thought it would be a good idea to model its head on Margaret Thatcher?

No wonder there’s a reluctance to perform mouth to mouth with the Iron Lady as your test subject.

That said, I’m sure there were no shortages of volunteers willing to pummel her chest with their fists (“Is it okay if I kick her face too? I think, she may be coming round.”)