Basic Life Support, or BLS, is the type of care that first responders, healthcare providers, and public safety personnel give to people who are experiencing cardiac arrest, respiratory distress, or an obstructed airway. It necessitates knowledge and abilities in CPR, the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and the relief of airway blockages in patients of all ages.
Hannah Jamsay, CEO and Executive Director of Uplift Internationale (UI) and an AHA Instructor, contributes a guest post in honor of World Heart Day (September 29). UI is a Denver-based non-profit that helps disadvantaged children in the Philippines receive life-changing facial reconstruction surgery.
I don't mean it negatively; rather, many of the things we take for granted as standard practice are life-changing revelations in other parts of the world.
I've had the pleasure of volunteering at Uplift Internationale for the past nine years, and I've served as executive director since May of 2016. UI's purpose is to perform life-changing procedures like cleft palate repair to impoverished children in rural villages in the Philippines. I'm a trained nurse who has also worked as a BLS instructor and led Hands-Only CPR awareness events and seminars for the American Heart Association for nearly eight years. I thought it would be fun to include CPR instruction alongside our surgical work on UI's most recent trip. I had no idea what to anticipate, yet the results astounded me.
Even some highly skilled healthcare professionals have never learnt CPR.
The natives were apprehensive of us when we landed in the Philippines last year, as they normally are. If you've ever had the pleasure of working with Filipinos, you're aware that they are reserved (but extremely thankful) people.
However, it didn't take long for me to acquire the trust of enough families and health care professionals. It's incredible how much kindness a few toys and teddy bears can bring. That's when the incredible happened.
In certain regions of the world, there is such a thirst for solid healthcare information that all it took was a spark to fill the entire communal space with eager participants in a Family & Friends event.
Prepare to save lives by attending CPR classes and get a certification.