26. The Five Fears

  1. Many bystanders are reluctant to assist and perform CPR when they see someone in need. Why is this? There are several reasons.
  1. Fear of Inury to Self – Many people are afraid of the circumstances that the patient is in, and how it could potentially harm them.  One of the primary tenets of BLS is that NO ONE should enter the scene where the patient is if it is not safe. 
  1. Fear of Harming the Victim – A victim in severe distress, or possibly dead, can only be helped by someone’s efforts to assist. If everyone felt this way, there would be no hope for the patient. One must consider what are the alternatives of not even trying to help. 
  1. Fear of Uncertainty – Remembering the exact ratios of compressions, ventilations, etc is not nearly as important as jumping in and pushing hard and fast. BLS and CPR is a fluid process, and doing things in the exact order as the textbooks state is not always the way things go in an actual code type situation. 
  1. Fear of Lawsuits – In today’s day and age of our extremely litigious  society, this a real fear. Billboards and TV commercials scare people. Laws in most states say that acting in good faith, and rendering reasonable first aid will not be held accountable for damages to the person being assisted. Implied consent means that if the unconscious person were able to request care, they would do so. 
  1. Fear of Disease – Lifesaving resuscitation greatly outweighs the risk of secondary infection in the rescuer. Nonetheless, everyone should always use universal precautions such as gloves, mask if they are available.