LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The earlier you give CPR to a person who is not breathing and has no heartbeat, the greater the chance of a successful resuscitation. But if you don't know how to do this, it could mean the difference between life and death. In this Healthcast, we have the story of one woman who has walked that fine line.
It's been six years since Terry Bowers' brush with death, but she can still remember it like it was yesterday. "You can't breathe, you're doubled over, you don't know what to think," says Terry, "it's just pure fear of not knowing what's going to happen."
When Terry had numbness, followed by severe pain, she knew that something was really wrong. Her husband rushed her to the emergency room and within two minutes of being inside the door, fell to the floor. "I collapsed in the lobby and they picked me up and brought me into the ER and they immediately started to work on me," she says.
Terry's heart stopped beating and the emergency room staff at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital worked to save her. ER physician Dr. Jon Gray says, "Every second that goes on without the brain and heart not having oxygen increases the risk of permanent brain or heart damage."
Miraculously, the team of doctors and nurses was able to resuscitate Terry and place stents where she had blockages. "Had we waited or I had stopped like most people do and laid down and rested," says Terry, "I wouldn't have made it."
One important tool that could potentially keep someone alive while waiting for an ambulance to arrive is CPR. Chris Bearb with Acadian Ambulance says it's simple to learn. "It's very easy to learn CPR," says Bearb, "chest compressions, giving respirations - it just takes a little time and it could save somebody's life."
Since Terry's heart attack, she's encouraging her family to learn CPR, because you never know when you'll need it. "It's what will keep someone alive until a doctor or other emergency people can get to you. It's what will save your life," says Terry.
*Your chance to learn bystander CPR at no cost is coming up this Saturday, May 23rd at the Lake Charles Civic Center. There will be two sessions: the first is at 9:00 A.M. and the second is at 11:00 A.M. To register, call 877-242-4277.