Army Reserve Soldiers with the 801st Field Hospital learned the nuances of providing care to adults, pregnant women, children, and infants when they attended the Basic Life Support class Nov. 7 at Fort McCoy, Wis.
The Soldiers with the Fort Sheridan, Ill., unit learned how to be part of a high-performance resuscitation team, whether serving as the lead or as a member.
They practiced cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, using timed compressions, and ventilation. The compression techniques varied depending on the age of the patient. For example, two hands are used on an adult, one hand for children, and two fingers for infants. The compression depth for adults is 2 inches, while for children and infants it’s one-third the depth of the chest.
They also trained on the safe and effective use of an automated external defibrillator, or AED. An AED is used to help those who experience sudden cardiac arrest. It analyzes the heart’s rhythm and, if necessary, delivers an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to help the heart reestablish an effective pace.
Spc. Alma Cortes-Reeder, a 68C practical nursing specialist, said the class is important because “this saves lives. I want to provide the best care that I can.” Cortes-Reeder works as a licensed practical nurse in her civilian career and has performed CPR and used an AED on a person rather than just a mannequin.
“In a matter of seconds, you’ll have a room full of people assisting you,” Cortes-Reeder said of using the life-saving techniques in the real world.
Cortes-Reeder also appreciated the opportunity to stay up to date on the latest CPR and AED procedures. “You have to be mentally ready for changes,” she said.
Another Soldier taking the course was Spc. Betsy Cedeno, a 68D surgical technologist. She echoed Cortes-Reeder in judging the value of the class. “I’m here to learn to save someone’s life,” Cedeno said.
Although she hasn’t had to perform CPR or use an AED on a human, Cedeno said that the skills she’s learning from the class will help her when faced with a health emergency. She appreciated the instructors’ techniques, “and the hands-on practice helps,” she said.
The class was taught by Fort McCoy Regional Training Site-Medical instructors.
(Cheryl Phillips is with the 88th Readiness Division Public Affairs Office.)