An article appearing in the United Kingdom newspaper The Daily Mail talks about a possible change in CPR guidelines after a girl lost her life, who almost certainly could have been rescued. The lifeguard had revived the girl to the point that the girl was breathing, and stopped as she was trained to do, but didn’t check for a pulse.
Sophie Konderak, 16, suffered from sudden cardiac arrest during a training session at a leisure center. The lifeguard dragged her from the water, unconscious, and immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. She was doing both chest compressions and rescue breathing. She had never before tried to revive someone, and when Sophie started breathing, she had believed the effort to be successful.
But she didn’t check for the all important pulse.
When paramedics arrived four minutes later, they resumed CPR, which was surprising to the lifeguards who were heard asking “Why are you doing CPR? She’s alive.” The child’s mother, distraught at the circumstances as any of us would be, broke down and cried out “It’s my child’s life, why didn’t anybody do anything? How could you just leave her lying there? She would have survived.”
Young Sophie was pronounced dead shortly after at the city’s “Royal Infirmary.” The initial cardiac arrest was due to an undiagnosed heart condition.
Dr. Christopher Duke, a heart expert, said Sophie “would have survived” had she received continuous CPR, adding “You don’t stop resuscitation just because a patient appears to be breathing. You only stop if there’s breathing and a pulse.”
Coroner Catherine Mason said she would write to the Resuscitation Council of the UK, which provides guidelines for life-saving techniques, to ask it to amend its training guidelines to include checking for a pulse. “The crucial point of this is that the CPR was stopped. The guidelines should be changed so that from when CPR commences it is conducted until a medically qualified person arrives or the patient regains consciousness.”