Doctors’ takeaways from Damar Hamlin resuscitation
We hope that awareness of these events will motivate the public to learn CPR, provide an opportunity to explore advanced instruction with first responders, and generate understanding of the work of healthcare teams.
The sports world continues to unite in support of Damar Hamlin
FTW’s Andy Nesbitt joins Mackenzie Salmon on Sports Seriously to talk about how great it was to see the entire sporting world come together to show love and support for Damar Hamlin.
Sports Seriously, USA TODAY
- dr Nick Kluesner is an emergency room physician at UnityPoint Health-Des Moines.
- dr Matt Trump works in pulmonary and critical care medicine at UnityPoint Health-Des Moines and The Iowa Clinic.
- dr Carlos Pelaez is a trauma surgeon at UnityPoint Health-Des Moines and The Iowa Clinic.
Most of the public is aware of the dramatic events of Monday Night Football in early January, when Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest from a tackle and received CPR and defibrillation on the field while the entire crowd and teams looked on, before passing ambulance to the nearest Tier I Trauma Center. As your local emergency medicine, trauma and critical care physicians, we shared several reflections on these visible circumstances that we think could be of value to the public.
First and foremost, this is an opportunity to celebrate Mr Hamlin’s seemingly miraculous recovery and the excellent medical care he has received from the medical team at the scene, the emergency medical personnel who took him to the hospital, and the emergency, trauma and Intensive care teams caring for him in the hospital. His high profile medical care clearly highlights the best that medicine has to offer. Mr. Hamlin’s emergency medical services and hospital care is present in almost every community, and these individuals here in Iowa remain alert, continually exercise and be prepared for such an event.
There are a few additional perspectives as healthcare professionals that we wanted to highlight in addition to this celebration for Mr. Hamlin and his healthcare teams.
Cardiac arrest is often fatal
Mr Hamlin’s result appears to be excellent and is described as “neurologically sound” but the public should understand that it was likely a product of his fundamental health, his unique injury and the prompt action of highly skilled medical staff who were ready and just waited a few feet away.
the real The rate of positive results from an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest like Mr. Hamlin’s is less than 6%.
This is not a reality most people realize; In fact, there is some illuminating literature showing the dramatic differences between cardiac arrest survival on TV and reality. So while we should not expect the same miracle for ourselves; We can and should use Mr. Hamlin’s story as motivation to learn CPR and find the next AED. They work! (Just understand that most of the time this cannot lead to a positive result.)
Revival is messy
There have been calls not to circulate videos taken of his resuscitation in the field, out of respect for Mr Hamlin’s privacy at such a vulnerable moment and for the gruesome images they offer. While we should certainly respect the importance of privacy, the public should also better appreciate that CPR after cardiac arrest is a very graphic procedure. It can seem downright violent between chest compressions and defibrillation. The results of CPR portrayed on television or in movies are not only romanticized; so is the procedure itself. It pays to understand both realities when your doctor discusses your preferred “code status.” Patient education videos exist and can be offered to patients so that they really understand the resuscitation procedure before agreeing to it.
Medical staff is resilient
Finally, as the scene unfolded on the field, the emotional, horrified faces of the other professional athletes were revealing. They were so traumatized by the sight of the brief, successful revival that the game was cancelled. That’s right. It is a tragic and devastating thing to see. However, healthcare workers participate in far longer, more gruesome, and less successful resuscitations, and yet, after taking a quick breath, go to the next room to cautiously attend to another patient’s needs. And we do that every day. We hope that through these events, the public has gained more compassion for the humane experiences of their healthcare team.
In summary, we hope that alongside the effusive support for Mr. Hamlin and his charity and the celebration of his excellent medical care, the publicity of these events will motivate the public to learn CPR and provide an opportunity to explore enhanced instruction with primary care providers and understanding of the Work that the health teams are doing to support our community members.
dr Nick Kluesner is an emergency room physician at UnityPoint Health-Des Moines. Nick Kluesner is an emergency room physician at UnityPoint Health-Des Moines. dr Matt Trump works in pulmonary and critical care medicine at UnityPoint Health-Des Moines and The Iowa Clinic. dr Carlos Pelaez is a trauma surgeon at UnityPoint Health-Des Moines and The Iowa Clinic.