RC Roop Nagar conducts crucial training to save lives

When he was on a tour last year to a famous winery in ­Waiheke Island of New ­Zealand, a very famous tourist destination, Dr BPS Parmar, past president of the Rotary Club of Roop Nagar, RID 3080, noticed, while disembarking at the ferry station, an automated external defibrillator (AED) installed at the waiting area. “I noted that this device, which delivers an emergency shock to the chest in a bid to revive a victim of a sudden cardiac arrest, had been donated by RC Waiheke Island,” recalls the laparoscopy surgeon who has specialised in metabolic surgery.

A CPR demo in progress.

Explaining the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), the most common cause of which is an irregular heart rhythm (known in medical parlance as ventricular fibrillation), he says that according to the eminent medical journal Lancet, about 5 to 6 lakh deaths in India are caused every year by sudden cardiac arrest. This happens due to an irregular heartbeat, and “unless there is intervention within a few minutes, over 90 per cent of such victims can succumb to sudden cardiac death. They hardly have any time to reach the hospital and unless we intervene immediately there is no hope of survival. This is why accompanying friends, family or even strangers standing nearby need to play a crucial lifesaving role.”

This is a skill widely known as CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) which involves manual application of external force on the patient’s chest to revive the heart (cardiac massage), till the heart rhythm improves. “Essentially, by doing CPR, you can buy precious time till an ambulance or emergency response team arrives at the scene and the patient can be transported to a hospital,” says Dr Parmar.

Essentially, by doing CPR, you can buy precious time till an ambulance or emergency response team arrives at the scene and the patient can be transported to a hospital.
Dr B P S Parmar, past president, RC Roop Nagar

But the sad part, he adds, is that “unlike in the western countries, in India due to lack of awareness, policies and fear of legal hassles the bystanders are not able to respond appropriately in such situations. Hence the survival rate after SCA in India is as low as 1–2 per cent. We need to emulate the West where “bystander CPR” is common, which means the common people who are highly aware and trained to provide CPR act speedily during critical emergencies. They also have public access to AEDs, to deliver an emergency shock to the chest in a bid to revive the victim of SCA.” Small wonder, that SCA survival rate in the developed countries has gone up by as high as 60–70 per cent compared to barely 1–2 per cent in India.

After seeing the AED at the New Zealand island ferry station, an idea was planted in his mind that his club should sponsor such a defibrillator in a public place in Roop Nagar.

 

Workshops on CPR

“Our club’s aim was to empower the community with this life-saving skill; so we have been organising seminars and workshops on CPR for the general public. Over the past eight months our club has conducted 13 such workshops, training more than 2,500 people in this life-saving technique,” says RID 3080 PDG Chetan Aggarwal, who is also a member of RC Roop Nagar. These seminars, conducted both in-person and online, have been accessible to a wide audience in community centres, schools, colleges, the district administrative complex, district courts and factories. “The participants are from all ages… from teenagers to senior citizens; this is a testament to our club’s commitment to equip the entire community with this life-saving skill,” he adds.

 

Expert instructors

Dr Parmar says the club has been conducting these training sessions with the help of expert trainers, particularly Dr Sushil Kumar, an anaesthesiologist, a non-Rotary volunteer, who has been partnering with their club to impart this crucial skill, to general members of the community. “The success of these seminars can be attributed also to the expertise of the instructors, who include experienced healthcare professionals and certified CPR trainers from the Parmar Hospital, to ensure that the participants receive high-quality training. These instructors not only teach the technical aspects of CPR but also instil confidence and empathy, essential qualities when responding to a medical emergency.”

A CPR trainer demonstrates administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

He himself has been doing advanced laparoscopic surgeries, and has been to five Rotary Medical Missions to Africa; in Mongolia he helped to train local doctors in metabolic ­surgery, for weight loss, control of diabetes, hypertension, etc.

RC Roop Nagar has recently installed two automated defibrillators, each costing around ₹1.35 lakh, in the city. The first was installed with funds collected by the club members at the district administrative complex, which has an Aam Aadmi clinic with a medical officer. It experiences a heavy presence of public throughout the day. All the employees of the administrative complex have been trained in the use of AED and CPR in a special workshop organised on the premises. “Our DG, Arun Mongia, during his official visit to the club, was so touched by this initiative that he has donated one more AED with the help of district funds, which has been installed at a local hospital.”

Dr B P S Parmar (L) and Dr Sushil Kumar explaining how to use an AED.

Dr Parmar explains that this device is easy to use and comes with simple instructions. Many hospitals have it, though in different forms. This AED, meant for the general public, is easy to operate; “there are clear instructions to follow and the task can be done in less than a minute by the machine. Once you switch it on, the machine senses the rhythm of the heart; if it is a shockable rhythm, it asks you to press the green button, and apply the pads on the chest. If it is not a shockable rhythm, then you have to do a manual CPR. If it is a shockable rhythm, and you use the AED, the patient will immediately get up. Then of course he/she has to be taken to a hospital.”

In conclusion, the surgeon adds, “Let’s not forget that a sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and equipping communities and individuals with life-saving skills can go a long way in saving precious lives. We are proud that our club has been a part of organising such training which will help save lives.”

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