Strangers more likely to perform CPR–friends and relatives are less likely

Rescue We found an interesting post over at The Straight Dope that really surprised us. They chewed on some research results involving resuscitation statistics that reveal strangers are more likely to perform CPR on you than someone you know would.

Conventional wisdom held (without any basis other than it sounded “good”) that strangers were less likely to perform CPR on others. We thought the reasons included the unknown medical history of strangers, unknown airborne and bloodborne pathogens you could be exposed to–stuff like that. It goes along with the American Heart Association’s “hands-only” CPR program that addresses this.

It turns out rescuers panic more when they know the victim.

What’s the moral of their blog post?

“…if you’re planning on having a heart attack, I recommend you arrange to have a trained stranger on hand who can start CPR immediately upon your collapse.”

Click the comment link below and tell us your thoughts!

2 Responses to “Strangers more likely to perform CPR–friends and relatives are less likely”

September 03, 2009 at 7:36 pm, Mark said:

Well, they don’t really evaluate the level of training or background of the strangers, do they? (The only rescuer information collected in the study was KNOWN or UNKNOWN to victim). I think if a “stranger” stopped to help do CPR, and you actually asked them what their background was, you might find that actually they have a background as a Boy Scout (as the article mentions),lifeguard, EMT, Nurse or Doc…all people who are kind of “conditioned” to stop and help…and who aren’t in the panic mode of a family member. I think all of us in the EMS setting aren’t surprised these days to find another healthcare person on scene and helping as a good samaritan.

Interesting post though!


December 30, 2009 at 12:52 am, cs said:

Previous studies have also shown that blood donations from strangers (ie regular folk who show up at the blood drive) are lower risk for disease transmission than directed donations (where you ask friends and family to donate)
Food for thought


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