The lie? The lie is that CPR works. Truth is, it doesn't. Let me explain.
I was recently reading the Wall Street Journal online when I stumbled across an interesting article from a retired Professor of Medicine about how doctors die differently than the rest of the population. The article points out that doctors are more likely to have advanced directives (what they want done or not done to save their lives) and implies that doctors are less likely to want cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) performed.
Why wouldn't a doctor want someone to perform CPR in an effort to save their life? There are many reasons, but here is one that will surprise you. Doctors know that CPR doesn't work. Yes, you read that correctly. CPR does not work.
The same Wall Street Journal article points out that while the media depicts CPR as a lifesaving tool (communicating a 75% success rate), in real life CPR rarely works. How rare, you ask? Its bad. Real bad. The article goes on to tell us that CPR is only successful in 8% of cases. Success being defined as living at least one month after being resuscitated. So in other words, 92% of CPR recipients will either die immediately or within 30 days.
Those are some pretty poor odds.
I was reminded of this statistic during the past week when I heard that the Oregon State Legislature was considering a bill (SB 275) that would require all high school students to learn CPR as a pre-requisite for graduation. While our budgets are strained and the education provided is a joke by many measures, our elected officials are spending time (and potential education dollars) to teach our kids to do something that fails 92% of the time.
I just wish I was aware of SB 275 when I was in Salem last Monday, lobbying for support of HB 2636 to improve STEM education in our state. The ridiculous CPR bill would have been a nice example of why our education system needs to be changed and focus put on things that matter.