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  • Writer's pictureJoy Slaughter

3.2 Improving Bystander Response


This series of blog posts was developed for the Fine Literature Book Club on Facebook. Crossing the Line was their April 2022 group read, and I was honored to lead the discussion.

Page 38

In the second part of this chapter, we see Megan reverting to patronizing behavior (people don’t grow overnight, after all). Nathan confronts her behavior once again. We see this as a foil (contrast) to Megan’s behavior in the previous section. Where she strove to avoid angering Todd, Nathan sees the potential for anger but chooses to speak out in truth and authenticity. While the contrast is interesting to see, it’s important to remember that relationships are complex, and individuals have various kinds/amounts of privilege. For example, even with limb loss, Nathan is not physically threatened by Megan at that moment, whereas Megan has been physically assaulted by Todd in the past. Nathan also has the benefit of maleness, which creates an additional impression of greater physical prowess as well as being normative in public safety decision making. These complexities prevent us from labeling Megan “bad” or Nathan “good.” Exploring these dynamics helps us see varying privileges around us and can help us find ways to use our privileges to help others.

After their discussion, we see our first in-depth medical call, a traumatic arrest. This is when a traumatic injury (car wreck) results in a cardiac arrest. Most locations, including the service upon which Barrington county is based, have policies in place that do not encourage resuscitation techniques of such patients. It’s too late. Megan’s rationale sheds light on a gray area. That the patient had been awake and talking to the rescuers before becoming unconscious. This is called a witnessed arrest. Witnessed arrests, especially when non-traumatic, generally have much better chances of resuscitation.

When the heart stops beating, it is important that CPR immediately start and shock be delivered within 3 minutes. That’s the goal.

So how do we achieve this?

–Consider enrolling in a CPR course. There is even a kind of CPR that only involves your hands–—no mouth-to-mouth—which is great for these pandemic times.

–Don’t be afraid to start CPR if you think it is needed. It will not hurt a patient who doesn't need it, and it can save the life of someone who does. This is especially true for women who need CPR. Women have lower survival rates because bystanders are hesitant to place their hands on a woman’s chest.

–Encourage businesses, churches, and government buildings to have AEDs available. These are small shock devices that can help restart a heart that is no longer beating.

To sign up for a CPR course in your area or online, click here:

How can you use your privileges to help others?

Have you taken a CPR course?

Do you know someone who has been saved by CPR?

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