In Kalamazoo, Michigan, Kids are Teaching Kids What to Do in Medical Emergencies Through Harpers Heart Heroes; Statewide Campaign Launched

There is a cardiac arrest every second in the United States.  Ninety percent of people who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital do not survive.  If CPR is started right away, survival rates increase to forty percent.

Over the past few years there has been an increase in the number of high school students who are learning how to do CPR.  However, there is no training program for elementary age children.  Most of these kids do not know how to tell if someone is unresponsive and may not call 911 or get help.

A study done at The Gagie School in Kalamazoo, indicates that many kids have heard of CPR, but most do not know when or why it is used.  After learning about what to do in a medical emergency and watching the AHA CPR video, all of the fourth graders knew how to respond if someone was unresponsive.   Additionally, forty percent were able to do effective, hands-only CPR.

The results of this test and the importance of the knowing how to save a life, led to the formation of Harpers Heart Heroes.  Harpers Heart Heroes is a group of elementary age kids who believe that children should be taught what to do in a medical emergency.

The team is led by Sherrie Bencik M.D., an Emergency Physician in Kalamazoo.  “I strongly believe that children are capable of helping others in a medical emergency.  Kids teaching other kids is a great way for children to learn about an important, life-saving skill.”

Harper’s Heart Heroes created an educational video that shows kids how to respond in a medical emergency.  This video will be sent to every public elementary school in Michigan.    Additionally, the team will educate the public with in-school visits, brochures, a Facebook page, and informational website.  The video, Facebook page, and website are available today.

The Harpers Heart Heroes team would like everyone to learn CPR, but know that some children will physically be too small.  They are working with emergency physicians at Western Michigan University School of Medicine to determine if older elementary kids (4th and 5th graders) can do effective CPR.  A large base study will be conducted this winter.  Test results will be used to determine if students could learn CPR in elementary or middle school.

Knowing how to save a life benefits everyone.  Harpers Heart Heroes believe that everyone, even young elementary age children, should be taught what to do in a medical emergency.  Additionally, they believe that children who are big enough, should learn how to do CPR.  Help us spread the word.

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