I am sure that many of you have seen the movie The Sandlot. It is one of those "remember when" summer movies that looks back, affectionately, to days gone by where all a kid had to do during summer vacation was play baseball. It isn't the kind of movie one thinks of when you think of lifesaving CPR. So you can imagine my surprise when The Today Show was all abuzz about 3 boys who saved their father with Sandlot CPR.
I am always quick to criticize morning show versions of CPR since they frequently misrepresent the facts. Take Hands-Only CPR. While it is a great first step while awaiting your breathing barrier, it does not take the place of the traditional cycles of compressions and breaths. However, many news outlets were quick to report the replacement when Hands-Only CPR was introduced. I would reiterate it again based on the CPR segment that followed the boys' story. Dr Torres said start compressions then after a few minutes start giving breaths. I am not the only instructor to criticize reporting. Safety Education Specialists Allison Kellner has a video online where she goes point by point through a Today Show segment. My hope is that all of my students know that starting compressions as soon as possible is critical to survival and that breaths provide necessary oxygen and should be given as soon as you are comfortable doing so, i.e. once you have a barrier or giving mouth-to-mouth breaths when appropriate.
When you listen to the boys, they say they had a hard time giving compressions and just gave breaths like in the movie. What was really happening was that the father passed out from breath holding exercises in the pool (always a no-no) and when the boys got him out of the pool (go boys) their breaths were in fact a different skill called RESCUE BREATHING. Rescue Breathing, or 1 breath every 6 seconds for adults (2-3 seconds for infants/children), is the skill that can be seen in the movie. It is for someone with a heartbeat to supply the brain and vital organs with fresh oxygen. The heart is one of those organs and if you continue to provide oxygen, you can hopefully prevent the heart from going into an irregular rhythm. Rescue Breathing is often the appropriate skill when someone who drowns receives immediate care. These boys were lightening fast and importantly followed these steps: recognize the emergency, get dad out of the pool, and send one of them to get help while the others cared for dad.
What must be praised above anything else is the boys' recognition of the emergency and willingness to act. This above all is what can lead to more positive outcomes.
You can see the boys' Today interview via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vOiFAZt2PE Local News coverage via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3PvbESTrLU Craig's interview with Dr Torres via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glw41smFPiw