The majority of American adults are unprepared or lack the confidence to assist in a medical emergency according to a new poll, underscoring the need for more formalised medical training.
The public poll from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) found most Americans felt confident in their ability to act during non-life-threatening emergencies, such as if someone has fainted or broken a bone, but their confidence faltered in the face of more severe medical emergencies.
The majority of poll respondents said they would not feel confident in their ability to assist in the following scenarios:
- There is a mass shooting (68 per cent)
- Someone has been shot (62 per cent)
- Someone nearby stops breathing (52 per cent)
- Someone has severe bleeding (50 per cent)
80 per cent of adults feel prepared and able to communicate effectively with 911 operators, but the thought of providing more “hands-on” assistance overwhelms most adults. The main reasons behind their hesitation are a lack of medical training and a fear they would make the situation worse.
However, the first person on the scene of a medical emergency is rarely a medical professional. According to William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP, there are a few basic skills that could save a life or significantly improve a person’s chances of survival.
Emergency physicians are taking steps to educate and empower communities across the nation to confidently help until help arrives. Developed by ACEP, Until Help Arrives is a free, one-hour training course easily accessible to anyone. Although still in its early stages, the program will teach key lifesaving skills such as controlling severe bleeding and performing hands-only CPR.
The program aims to empower bystanders to take action in the critical minutes before professional help arrives, as those minutes are often the difference between life and death.
Poll results revealed 90 per cent of adults would be more willing to assist in an emergency after completing Until Help Arrives training. An overwhelming number of adults also suggested they would feel more comfortable knowing others around them had been certified by the Until Help Arrives program, particularly in their home, at school, or in public areas such as community centres and libraries.
Safety kits will be available for purchase by physicians interested in teaching the course and for citizens to store in nearby and easily accessible locations. Until Help Arrives will also be available in both English and Spanish.
Emergency physicians interested in becoming course instructors or anyone interested in signing up for a class can find more information here.