On August 3, 2003 James Safar, a man whose work saved many, many lives, died quietly at his home in Pennsylvania. He was 79 years old. He started the nation’s first physician – staffed ICU, but it was another innovation that was his biggest legacy. Dr. Safar pioneered a life-saving technique that can be used at home, at a playground, in a restaurant, or at a swimming pool.
Today we call it CPR. It requires no special equipment, and can be learned in hours.
In an emergency, the earlier someone starts CPR, the more likely the victim will survive. The city of Seattle has the highest “save” rate among major cities in the U.S. About 45 percent of people who suffer complete cardiac arrest are saved. One reason for this is that Seattle has one of the highest bystander CPR rates of any city. When a bystander – whether friend, family, or stranger – starts CPR before emergency support arrives, the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest is tripled!
Nevertheless, in most cities, when emergency workers arrive at a cardiac arrest, they find no one giving CPR.
In honor of Dr. Safar, in honor of those you love, this would be a good month to find a convenient CPR class and learn how to save lives.