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Rates of Survival for CPR Not Consistent Across United States

If you suffer from cardiac arrest in Philadelphia, your chances of survival may be different than if you were to suffer from cardiac arrest in New Jersey, Utah, or any of the hundreds of other cities and states across the United States. The rate of survival is dramatically different—by as much as 500 percent in different cities throughout the country—due to the failed implementation of modern and improved treatments in regards to resuscitation attempts. Failure to use best practices when performing resuscitation attempts may warrant a medical malpractice claim.

The Average Rate of Successful Resuscitation Attempts

According to a December 2015 article published in The New York Times, the average survival rate following a resuscitation attempt is about five to 10 percent outside of hospitals, and about 20 percent when resuscitation rates are performed within hospitals.

However, the rate of survival from a resuscitation attempt is much higher in some areas of the country, and much lower in others. For example, take Seattle – survival rates in Seattle and King County during resuscitation attempts are as high 19.9 percent when emergency service providers make the attempt. In Detroit, on the other hand, the survival rates dips to a meager three percent.

Why the Drastic Difference in Survival Rates?

Despite the fact that cardiac arrest is a treatable condition, too often, those who suffer from cardiac arrest die because of problems with the administration of CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Some of the most common errors made during the performance of CPR on victims suffering from cardiac arrest include the following:

  • Checking the patient’s pulse for too long. One error that many make when performing CPR is failing to continue to administer CPR and instead taking a break to check the patient’s pulse. While checking a pulse should take no more than 10 seconds, many emergency responders take up to one minute, depriving organs of oxygen for a fatal amount of time.
  • Giving up on the patient too soon. According to The New York Times article cited above, cardiopulmonary resuscitation is typically performed for around 15 to 20 minutes. While this may seem like a satisfactory amount of time, attempts of up to one hour can lead to recovery in some cases, as demonstrated by research. In fact, new recommendations for CPR administration recommend performing CPR for a minimum 45 minutes in patients with a chance of survival.
  • Failing to employ other resuscitation techniques. CPR is not the only way to resuscitate a victim who is suffering from cardiac arrest; rather, when a pulse is not returned within 20 minutes of performing CPR, other techniques should be considered. Unfortunately, these techniques—like corporeal membrane oxygenation—are often overlooked.

In addition to poor performance during CPR administration, another cause of the striking disparity in survival rates may be the fact that data is isolated; many hospitals have no idea how their resuscitation survival rates compare to others’ survival rates. A lack of accountability and a lack of transparency may also be part of the problem.

If You Have Lost a Loved One Due to Cardiac Arrest, We Can Help

Death due to cardiac arrest is not always inevitable. If your loved one would have survived but for an error in the administration of CPR or other resuscitation techniques, you may have a medical malpractice claim for damages. To learn more about your rights, call the passionate Pennsylvania and New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys at Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. at your earliest convenience. We are reachable at 215-567-3500 now.

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