Health Team

State fair exhibit offers basic CPR training

Posted October 22, 2013
Updated October 23, 2013

— One week ago, Ken and Jean Oakley couldn’t have imagined they’d be walking around the North Carolina State Fair.

The two were sitting and watching TV when the unexpected occurred. Jean Oakley heard her 76 year-old husband make a strange noise.

“He had his head flung back,” she said. “I rushed over, and he was turning blue. His eyes were open, but he obviously couldn’t see me."

The retired nurse called 911. The operator told her to do chest compressions.

A Duke University Hospitals-sponsored exhibit at this year’s State Fair is teaching fair-goers CPR basics just in case they ever find themselves in a position like the Oakleys.

More than 100 nurses and paramedics affiliated with Duke, Rex Healthcare and WakeMed are educating guests on how to recognize the symptoms of cardiac arrest. The exhibit is located in the Education Building on the end corner closest to Dorton Arena.

The exhibit will focus on teaching the three basics to CPR: checking to see if the person is awake, calling 911 and chest compressions.

Duke cardiologist Dr. James Jollis, who is also the current governor of the American College of Cardiology, says people used to learn a combination of mouth-to-mouth resuscitations with chest compressions.

Now, doctors know that chest compressions alone will keep blood and oxygen flowing to the brain until EMS arrives.

It had been over 30 years since Jean Oakley last performed CPR.

“When you have to do it, you can do it,” she said.

At Rex Hospital, Ken Oakley received a stent to open a blocked heart artery. Now he is feeling well and is thankful his wife knew what to do.

“It’s a miracle story,” Jollis said. “It shouldn’t have to be a miracle. It should happen every single time, if we just recognize what to do, call 911 and start compressions,” he added.

Everyone faces the possibility of being called on to perform CPR in any public place, WRAL Health Team correspondent Dr. Allen Mask says.

“Remember, you can’t hurt the person doing chest compressions, but you could save a life,” Mask said.

People are twice as like to survive if someone performs chest compressions. Mask encourages everyone to go to the fair and get trained. It only takes a few minutes.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • albegadeep Oct 25, 2013

    scubagirl2: The idea is to do both artificial respiration AND chest compressions. The new guidelines are really for the completely untrained, and are much easier to remember and perform than 'full' CPR (with artificial respiration). But full CPR does have a higher probability of success than compression alone.

    carrboroyouth: I wholeheartedly agree that a person in cardiac arrest is better off with CPR, even if it means broken ribs, than without. My point is that Mark's statement isn't really true - you certainly CAN hurt someone with CPR, but they'll thank you for it later.

  • scubagirl2 Oct 24, 2013

    Also, including artificial respiration ("mouth-to-mouth") with CPR does improve outcomes over chest compressions only, if done properly.

    The new guidelines say you don't need to do that. If blood is not circulating breathing is pointless, and I'd rather have broken ribs that heal than be dead-that doesn't.....

  • carrboroyouth Oct 23, 2013

    albegadeep - In class, we are taught that you should assume that a person in cardiac arrest will die without intervention. So yes you can break ribs, but it's illogical to resist doing compression to avoid fracturing bones.

    Mark is right in saying "it can't hurt" -- because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing CPR if the person is dying. More of a non-literal interpretation, I guess.

  • albegadeep Oct 23, 2013

    “Remember, you can’t hurt the person doing chest compressions, but you could save a life,” Mask said.

    Flat-out wrong. To quote Wikipedia: "Common complications due to CPR include rib fractures, sternal fractures, ..." (another 2 lines of complications removed). It's still needed - it can save their life - but can do some harm in the process.

    Also, including artificial respiration ("mouth-to-mouth") with CPR does improve outcomes over chest compressions only, if done properly.

  • Hubris Oct 22, 2013

    CPR will come in handy at the State Fair where fried foods and sugary treats attract all those overweight people.