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The University of Southampton

Getting hands on to save a life

Published: 17 October 2019
outside resuss demo

Medical students have been encouraging their fellow classmates and University staff to become more informed about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by holding a series of training sessions across campus.

The event was to mark Restart a Heart Day, led in the UK by the Resuscitation Council, which aims to empower as many bystanders as possible, includ­ing non-­professionals, to do chest compressions if they see someone having a heart attack.

Research shows that good CPR can be almost as effective as the blood pumping the heart itself. However, the proportion of cardiac arrests in which a bystander attempts CPR, ranges from five to 20 per cent in most countries to more than 60 to 80 per cent in a few countries. If, in all countries, bystanders attempted CPR in at least 50 per cent of cardiac arrests, hund­reds of thousands of lives could be saved worldwide every year.

This is the fourth year Southampton medical students have been involved in the Restart a Heart initiative and the second year that students have taught people on campus. Last year students trained more than 600 people in CPR and this year they want to reach 800 people.

The event started with students hearing from people who have either given CPR or received CPR in a time of need, including Professor Diana Eccles, Dean of Medicine.

Professor Eccles gave emergency CPR to a member of the public in an airport. Professor Eccles had got off a flight and saw someone who had collapsed and was pale. She assessed him and started to give CPR. Four other people helped until the ambulance crew arrived 40 minutes later. 

Students held CPR sessions at various locations across Highfield, Bolderwood, Southampton General Hospital and Avenue campuses with students and staff including the University’s Vice-President for Education, Professor Alex Neill.

Students also taught members of the public at Sainsbury’s in Portswood and West Quay shopping centre.

Rhian Jeffery, a BM5 student, was on the student team who organised the event. She said:

“I have found being involved in the Restart a Heart event hugely rewarding, it’s been a highlight of my student experience. Having the opportunity and support to set up the day as we envisioned, with backing from the Faculty has made the process very satisfying. I hope we have benefitted many people, from increasing our medical students’ confidence in teaching, to improving the skills of students who may need them in an emergency.”

Professor Diana Eccles, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, said: “I am extremely proud of our students. They are no strangers to giving CPR training – they already hold many sessions with schools and colleges in the area – but their fellow peers are a perfect group to teach this extremely important skill. It was great to see so many staff and students get involved in this very important scheme. We hope that we have made a significant difference to the numbers of people trained this year.”

The event has also received support from ambulance trusts and the British Heart Foundation.

For more information visit the Restart a Heart Day web page

Demo in class of using the CPR dummies
Demo in class of using the CPR dummies
Slideshow image
Demo outside using the CPR dummies
Slideshow image
Demo outside using the CPR dummies
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