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Saturday, November 25, 2000

Campaign urges more
CPR training

New skills saved drowning child

By Helen Altonn

Golf courses and high schools are targeted for expanded cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training in the American Heart Association's newly launched Operation Heartbeat.

The AHA Hawaii Affiliate is kicking off Links for Life, co-sponsored by a manufacturer, to get automated external defibrillators at golf courses, said spokesman Don Weisman.

Cardiac arrests often occur on golf courses, where it takes a long time to get to a victim, he said. Some courses, such as Waialae Country Club, already have AEDs scattered about, he said.

Operation Heartbeat's goal nationally is to improve the sudden cardiac arrest survival time.

Weisman said Seattle, a national and possibly worldwide model, has survival rates approaching 50 percent.

Hawaii's rate has been about 5 percent, although it may be higher now with extended use of defibrillators, he said.

"But if you don't have someone calling 911 and doing CPR, giving responders time to get there, it's all for naught."

A cardiac arrest victim's survival rate drops by 7 to 10 percent for each minute of delay until defibrillation, according to the heart association.

A victim can suffer brain death in 10 minutes, Weisman said. Doing CPR can extend the time to give emergency workers with a defibrillator time to shock the heart back to normal rhythm, he said.

CPR training is encouraged as part of the "chain of survival." The first step is to recognize the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest and immediately call 911 to bring an ambulance.

"A lot of times we've heard of people calling relatives on the mainland, and they call their 911 ... which calls 911 in Hawaii," Weisman said. "Also, they call their physician, who can't do anything for you over the phone."

It's hard to get the message across to the island population that calling 911 is OK, and should be done as soon as something seems to be wrong, said Dr. Robert Bonham, emergency physician at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

"So many times people fail to make contact with the EMS and they lose valuable time," said Bonham, emergency cardiovascular chairman for the heart association.

"If dad is on the couch and won't rouse and is making funny noises, they call aunty ... and they have to discuss it ...

"If we could get a lot more people to get 911 going, there probably would be increased potential (for saving lives)."

Weisman said the heart association is working with the emergency medical services system to see if response time can be improved.

They want to be able to locate a cell-phone call, which they can't do now, he said. "Technology is being developed to use the satellite to triangulate a call."

Weisman said the national office is using the Hawaii CPR training program as a model.

Part of it involves getting CPR into the high schools and adding tens of thousands of trained persons each year to the population, he said.

Every high school on the Big Island's west coast has CPR courses, Kauai had a pilot program, and Maui has a grant to start courses, Weisman said. But Oahu is lagging, he said.

The affiliate was selected for a pilot training program for high school students that began last year in Mililani and will be expanded, Weisman said.

"We train teachers to be trainers so we don't have to keep going back."

The AHA will schedule free CPR awareness classes in downtown Honolulu Feb. 14 as part of Operation Heartbeat. Free training also will be offered in April at the University of Hawaii student activity center.

A 90-minute awareness course offers enough training to save someone, but the person wouldn't be certified, Weisman said.

He said 4,300 people participated in the heart association's mass awareness training events last year and more than 43,518 participated in comprehensive training courses.

Another major agency providing CPR training is the American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter, which averages about 24,000 participants annually in combined CPR and first aid classes.

People can take just CPR, said Mary Meinel, the chapter's director of health and safety. However, she said, "We consider CPR a first-aid technique. Although CPR is dealing with a vital organ, secondary care is always provided to a victim after CPR."

The Red Cross has about 1,900 certified instructors statewide and every branch probably offers classes 30 times a month, Meinel said.

For more information about CPR classes, call ASK-2000.

Isle man used new skills
on drowning child

By Helen Altonn

Glenn Kiyabu thought it would be good to know cardiopulmonary resuscitation, little realizing how soon he would need to use it.

Kiyabu, 37, said he was interested in learning CPR because he has two sons, 8 and 11, and coaches Little League Baseball in Kahaluu.

So when a notice arrived at his job in Hawaii National Bank's Information Systems Department offering a one-day Red Cross course, he volunteered and took it Oct. 17.

"That very next weekend -- Sunday, Oct. 22," he said, he was sitting with his family by the pool at the Turtle Bay Hilton Hotel.

"I noticed a little boy floating face down in the water."

A woman near the pool, Julie Tang, jumped in and brought the child to the side, Kiyabu said. "I pulled him out of the pool and started mouth-to-mouth resuscitation."

The child began gasping for air, coughing and breathing on his own, he said. "He was OK after that."

Someone had called 911 and the fire department and an ambulance arrived. The boy was taken to the hospital and was released the next day.

Mary Meinel, director of health and safety for the American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter, was interested in learning of the incident because the Red Cross awards national certificates to people who save lives through Red Cross training.

In her 12-year tenure at the local chapter, she said, only four certificates have been awarded to island residents.

Matthew Kailio of Kahaluu received the last award in 1998 for rescuing and reviving an unconscious 4-year-old girl from Kaaawa Stream.

Meinel said more rescues may occur without the Red Cross hearing about them. "It's quite personal. It's such a traumatic ordeal people don't want to share that information."

Hawaii National Bank reported Kiyabu's rescue. Companies no longer are required by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Agency to train employees in CPR.

But Warren Luke, Hawaii National Bank chairman and chief executive officer, said, "We have always believed that CPR training is a good idea, whether or not it is required by law. It's something everyone should know how to do."

"I'm very happy I took that course," Kiyabu said, adding that he really never expected to use it -- at least not so soon.

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