JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A doctor at Shands Jacksonville is working to teach everyone on the First Coast how to save a life.
Dr. Joseph Sabato created the "Take Heart First Coast" initiative. His goal is to have 65,000 people learn bystander CPR - that is enough to fill Everbank Field.
"Our approach to CPR has been wrong. We've made it too difficult and so only one out of four people that need CPR gets it, even though someone is standing right beside them," explained Dr. Sabato. "Now with the hands-only CPR, it's so easy that we can teach people how to do this is less than one or two minutes."
Police officer Michael Pickering understands the need for widespread CPR training. He is still recovering after a heart attack in January.
Pickering was helping another officer chase down a suspect, when he felt a pain in his chest.
"Initially I thought it was the Mexican food I just had for lunch," said Pickering. "I was kind of in denial, because I didn't want to think that was what was happening - that I was having a heart attack."
When pain began shooting up Pickering's arm, he knew he had to call for rescue, but he did not want to call it in as a heart attack.
Fire rescue arrived and immediately started CPR. Dr. Sabato believes that is what helped Pickering survive with little complications.
"It was rare for somebody to come in and he was on the phone to his wife when he came into the emergency room," said Dr. Sabato.
Pickering's heart had stopped three times on the way to the hospital, but he is speaking normally and expects to go back to work once he completes rehabilitation.
"I'll still chase bad guys," he laughed.
But Pickering hopes his story will help encourage people to learn how to perform bystander CPR.
"The thing about CPR is you never know whose life you're [going to] save," Pickering said.
The steps for hands-only CPR are simple:
- Shake the victim to see if he or she is responsive
- Call 911 (or have someone nearby make the call)
- Push hard and fast on the victim's chest to the beat of "Stayin' Alive"
First Coast News