Large deficits in first aid knowledge

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Large deficits in first aid knowledge among laypersons: A study showed that none of the participants was able to correctly implement the generally applicable resuscitation guidelines for first aiders. Ten percent couldn't even provide a correct emergency number.

According to a study by the University of Mainz, there are major deficits among laypeople in first aid in emergency or accident situations. The knowledge is extremely poor, especially in relation to cardiopulmonary resuscitation. On the basis of the results of the study, physicians demand that the rules for resuscitation be simplified and made more understandable. New concepts could encourage more people to take refresher courses in first aid. Many people could be saved in an emergency if accident witnesses took the right measures.

First aid measures among laypeople extremely bad
According to a study by the University Clinic in Mainz, knowledge about first aid measures among laypeople is extremely poor. In the researchers' study, physicians confronted passers-by with an emergency training manikin and asked for first aid. The observations were recorded and then evaluated. The result suggests that most Germans have very poor knowledge of first aid. Because none of the subjects was able to correctly implement the generally applicable resuscitation guidelines for first aiders. 43 percent of the study participants only checked the responsiveness of the “victim”, 65 percent performed a chest compressions and 63 percent mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, 10 percent could not even provide a valid emergency telephone number.

Participants in refresher courses achieved better results
However, the results also showed that those participants who had recently taken a refresher course were able to achieve significantly better results. The director of the Clinic for Anaesthesiology, Prof. Dr. Christian Werner, “Although our study did not aim to establish an optimal distance for first aid refresher courses, we were able to show that all participants who had completed a first aid course within the past three years were mouth-to-mouth. Mouth ventilation and chest compressions ”. Subjects whose last first aid course was more than three years ago performed significantly worse.

Every German who has a car driver's license has participated in a first aid course at least once in their life. However, regular refresher courses are not mandatory. The doctors therefore ask that regular courses be taken to refresh the knowledge. In addition, the new guidelines change the optimal guidelines from time to time.

Many are afraid of doing something wrong in an emergency
In an emergency, many are afraid to carry out resuscitation measures. Many people are afraid that wrong measures may worsen the patient's health. Many people die unnecessarily, although quick help could significantly increase the survival rate. If emergency witnesses begin resuscitation before the emergency doctor arrives, the patient's chance of survival is increased 2.5 times, as recently reported by the Björn Steiger Foundation. (sb, Nov 9, 2010)

Also read:
Cardiac massage instead of mouth ventilation
Mouth-to-mouth ventilation for cardiac arrhythmias?

Image: Hanspeter Bolliger /

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