Physicians and Paramedics urging mandatory CPR course in schools and large

TORONTO, Nov. 25 /CNW/ - The Physicians and Paramedics Urging Life Saving Education (PULSE), wants all Ontarians to be prepared to respond in cases of an emergency requiring the use of CPR.

PULSE has launched their Link to Life Campaign in an effort to increase the number of Ontarians capable of performing basic CPR on victims of sudden cardiac arrest and for legislation to make it mandatory for all Grade 12 students to pass a certified basic CPR course in order to receive their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, up to 85 per cent of cardiac arrests occur at home or in public places and almost half are witnessed by a family member or friend. In Ontario alone, approximately 7,000 out-of hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually. The survival rate of victims for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is a dismal five per cent. However, CPR performed by a bystander while the emergency medical team is on its way quadruples a person's chance of being successfully resuscitated. Furthermore, defibrillation when used in conjunction with CPR in the first few minutes can dramatically improve cardiac arrest survival rates by more than 50 per cent.

To increase adult proficiency in the use of CPR, PULSE is also asking the Government of Ontario to:

    -  Offer tax rebates to those who pay for a CPR course. For an individual
       taking the course, it would mean a small tax savings. For a corporate
       citizen, providing and paying for a course for its employees would be
       a compelling tax incentive.

    Further to government initiatives, we are calling on:

    -  Family physicians to encourage all spouses or co-habitants of cardiac
       patients or those at high risk of a sudden cardiac arrest to take a
       certified basic CPR course.

    -  Allow life insurance claimants who are at risk for cardiac arrest to
       receive a five per cent discount on their premium provided their
       spouse or co-habitant provides proof of successfully completing a
       certified basic CPR course.

"It is socially unacceptable that only 30 per cent would perform basic CPR when faced with someone in cardiac arrest," says Dr. Norman Epstein. "It is our civic responsibility to ensure we train these students and adults in basic CPR in order to save lives."

"Preparing to save lives of those who suffer from sudden cardiac arrest has always been a priority for the Heart and Stroke Foundation," says Marco Di Buono, Director of Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. "We support PULSE and urge the government to take measures to reach these goals."


For further information: For further information: Norman Epstein, M.D. CCFP (EM), Co-chair of PULSE, (416) 347-7652,

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