Biological Death versus Clinical Death
What happens when an individual’s breathing and heartbeat stop? The first stage is called Clinical Death. Clinical death is not necessarily permanent. An individual’s brain can stay alive for about 4-6 minutes after breathing and heartbeat have stopped. This isn’t much time, but it is our “Window of Survival.” If appropriate medical care is initiated within the first minutes of cardiac arrest, the individual has a much greater chance of survival. Many individuals have survived because of early entry into the Emergency Medical System (EMS), and prompt bystander CPR and Defibrillation. If more than 4-6 minutes elapse, however, the individual will most likely experience permanent and irreversible brain damage or Biological Death.
Most people, when confronted by a medical emergency of this nature will active EMS by calling 911. This is a critical step, the first link in the Chain of Survival, but it may not be enough. The average national response time for EMT’s and Paramedics varies between 8 to 14 minutes. Unfortunately, the victim is often brain dead before professional rescuers have even arrived on the scene.
CPR stands for CardioPulmonary Resuscitation, which means Heart and Lung Resuscitation. When an individual’s breathing and heartbeat have stopped, it is your objective to breathe for them and to beat their heart in order to keep oxygen flowing to vital organs. These are the two functions that aren’t working, and these are the two functions you are going to attempt to replace. Always activate EMS, but Early CPR and Early Defibrillation may be the key to their survival.
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