CROSBY-HUFFMAN CHAMBER CITIZEN TRAINING

GoodSAM Aims to Save Lives with Technology and Volunteer CPR program

By David Taylor
Managing Editor

Advances in technology are exploding in the medical industry and with it comes advanced life-saving measures that increase outcomes for patients. At the Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Roland Hobbs, director of North Channel EMS, explained a new program that’s sweeping the country and brings with it the technology and hope to save lives.

“This program has been adopted by most of the fire and EMS departments on the east side of Harris County and is expanding quickly,” he told Chamber members.

Hobbs and his colleagues are quietly building an army of volunteers training them in the newer procedures in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), a team they hope will bring hope for patients in distress.

“We are enrolling residents in CPR classes and building a team across East Harris County that can respond to life-saving calls,” he said. “Once they’re trained, we use them. When we receive a call for someone in cardiac arrest, we look to see if there’s one of our volunteers trained in CPR and registered with us to go next door or a couple of doors down or in the area to start administering chest compressions while the ambulance and paramedic are en route.”

Hobbs said the chances of survival for a patient in cardiac arrest are less than 10 percent survivability outside of a hospital. However, if CPR is administered quickly, those chances almost doubly increase.

“Many of you remember Good Samaritans were also asked to do mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing, but that’s no longer necessary,” he said.

Hobbs also said that new technology with automated external defibrillators (AED) is much more advanced and simpler enough for anyone to operate. AEDs are a small, portable medical device that can read someone’s heart rhythm and deliver an electrical shock, if necessary, to try and restart the heart.

“All of those can be done within seconds or minutes of a volunteer arriving at a home, church, or business while the ambulance is en route,” he said. Once the ambulance arrives, the paramedics take over and continue the life-saving measures.

The technology is much deeper than just a simple phone call.

“This is just the beginning,” Hobbs said. “We are first trying to enlist and train as many people as possible to learn CPR and then expand that network of volunteers to every single community and subdivision in our scope.”

Hobbs said they are willing to come to churches, civic organizations, and clubs to teach members the free CPR classes. Participants who receive the training receive a CPR certified card.

“Once this is established, we plan to expand the program to more of its capabilities,” he told the chamber.

One of those is a video component. Volunteers who arrive at the scene early can receive a link on their cell phone from the 911 dispatch. When the volunteer clicks on it, the dispatch can see the video of the scene from their phone and help in coaching the volunteer by viewing the live video and assessing the scene. The video feed can also be sent in real time to the medical director or paramedics on the ambulance that’s en route who can also assist the volunteer with the patient at the scene.

“None of it works without volunteers and that’s why we are starting first to train residents how to administer CPR and then we’ll incorporate the additional technology as we go,” he told members.

One question from the audience was on the liability factor.

Hobbs reminded them that they are covered by the Good Samaritan law.

The law states, “A person who in good faith administers emergency care at the scene of an emergency or in a hospital is not liable in civil damages for an act performed during the emergency unless the act is willfully or wantonly negligent.”

GoodSAM was founded in 2013 in Europe to change the response to cardiac arrests. The result has been positive.

Crosby is already a step ahead of most communities. The Cody Stephens Foundation has already placed an AED at the high school football stadium and one at the Crosby Fair and Rodeo facility on FM 2100. Stephens, a football player on the Crosby Cougars team, died an untimely death at 18 years old in May of 2012 after suffering cardiac arrest. His father, Scott, worked with UIL Athletics until the bill was passed.

“House Bill 76 (Cody’s Law) was passed through the Texas Senate with a Vote of 20-11,” Stephens wrote on his son’s foundation website. “Each and every student, along with their parent/guardian, in the state of Texas who participates in UIL sanctioned events will be informed about ECG heart screenings and have the opportunity to opt in. This law will educate, save countless lives, and put the issue of heart health in the students/ parent’s hands, which has been our goal since day 1,” his father wrote.

To learn more about GoodSAM or to enroll in a CPR class, contact Hobbs at the North Channel EMS at LearnCPR@ncems.net.

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