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UMC institute adding more free CPR classes

University Medical Center is offering free CPR classes through its Healthy Living Institute at UMC to give more Las Vegas Valley residents an opportunity to learn lifesaving skills.

“It’s absolutely crucial that we educate as many people as possible,” said Ketan Patel, UMC’s associate medical director of the Emergency Department. “To the point where I think it should be required in schools and at venues.”

The importance of such lifesaving skills was underscored on national television, when viewers saw Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, go into cardiac arrest after a tackle during the Jan. 2 game in Cincinnati. On the field, medical professionals conducted CPR on Hamlin, who now just over a week later, is making significant strides toward recovery.

One of the classes offered through the Healthy Living Institute program is the friends and family American Heart Association’s CPR class, which starts Jan. 23. The class teaches what to do when someone such as a loved one suffers a cardiac or respiratory attack.

A cardiac or respiratory attack is more than likely to happen to a loved one, and those around them will have to perform CPR on them, said Amy Runge, clinical nurse manager at the institute. When that does happen, a person needs to act fast because every minute counts.

“If you don’t do anything, this person could die,” Runge said. “Your actions could save (lives) and that’s huge.”

Patel also stressed the vital role time plays in a patient’s survival. The quicker a shock is applied or someone performs chest compressions, the better the outcome for the patient, he said.

It’s not just about survival, Patel said. It’s also about making sure that they come out of their medical episode neurologically intact.

“Every minute that goes by there’s a 10 percent less likelihood that that person is going to survive intact,” Patel said. “Five to 10 minutes could be life changing for someone and can make all the difference.”

Patel said he hopes to see as many people as possible get the training. Those interested can sign up on the program’s events website at https://apps.umcsn.com/common/EducationEvents.aspx

“You don’t have to be any sort of sub specialist or a physician to be able to save someone’s life,” he said. “You can arm yourself to react appropriately in a shocking and stressful situation. You can really save someone’s life and make a difference in someone’s care.”

Contact Jimmy Romo at jromo@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0350. Follow @jimi_writes on Twitter.

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