cardiopulmonary resuscitation

There was an interesting editorial in Wednesday's Daily Tarheel (the student newspaper here at UNC) by Andrew Moon, a first year med student.

My knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation has largely been formed by what I've seen on television. But according to Moon this is a very false impression and one that is held by most people in this country. After all, virtually everyone watches television.

According to the editorial, 75% of people receiving CPR on TV shows survive. In reality it's less than 10%, a number I find daunting. And also the people who survive due to the CPR often suffer neurological impairment. Lack of oxygen to the brain, y'know?

All in all it adds up to a much scarier situation that I'd ever have believed. On the tube it looks like some person pushes on your chest for a minute or two, maybe does that kissy-kissy thing and then you get up and dance a jig or at least get moved to a hospital that has really cute doctors and nurses---but occasionally has gang members shooting at one another within its corridors. Hmmm. Maybe I shouldn't believe everything I see on television, huh?

The point that Moon is making in his editorial is that we often make healthcare decision for ourselves and loved ones based on the expectation that heroic measures like CPR will return that person to normal. Instead, usually you die but even if you survive you might end up a vegetable. And not a good one like a potato but a nasty one like broccoli. Ewwww!


Anonymous said…
Let's not be maligning the Broccoli, now. That is some tasty, low calorie, high calcium stuff right there. Especially when covered in fake "spray butter".

Now... spending eternity as celery... shudder.
I just wouldn't want to be a brussels sprout. I've never even had one, but they just look suspicious.
utenzi said…
I agree. They look very suspicious!
Teresa said…
Just promise not to resuscitate me, okay?

You only seem to hear about when someone is successful in performing CPR, but I still would have thought the success rate was higher than that.

I think a vegetative person is more like a potato than broccoli -- or even a brussels sprout (which are EXCELLENT if prepared right. Trust me... yum!). Just lying there looking pale, kind of lumpy... a potato for sure. Isn't that where "couch potato" images come from?
kenju said…
Hey, I had both broccoli and potatoes for dinner!!

When I took a CPR class last spring, they led us to believe that it was a panacea.

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