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Old January 10, 1999, 11:59 PM   #18
Staff Emeritus
Join Date: November 23, 1998
Location: a small forest in Texas
Posts: 7,077
Ummm, I'm neither a doctor nor an attorney, but I am a CPR Instructor/Trainer with the American Heart Association and the National Safety Council. IMHO, if the CPR is appropriate patient treatment, I believe you are obligated to perform CPR if you have already started or if it is part of your job description. This includes First Responders, lifeguards, Firefighters, most medical professionals, anybody working as a First Aid person, etc.

In EMS, I was obligated to do CPR when on-duty (and the patient needed it).

Good news: I had the ambulance equipment to improve my personal safety (e.g. bag-valve-mask (aka Ambu bag); lotsa gloves, eye protection, gowns, suction unit, etc.)

Bad news: The ambulance equipment would not yet be there if I was first on the scene (as a "First Responder"). So... I carried (and still carry several pairs of gloves, a CPR Microshield (1-rescuer CPR on patients over 6 y/o), and a pocket mask (for 2-rescuer CPR or patients less than 6 y/o).

The American Heart Association says (in writing) there is not one documented case of a rescuer contracting HIV/AIDS doing CPR mouth-to-mouth. (They don't say what documentation they would require and they don't mention Hepatitis, TB, etc...)

The Center for Disease Control says that the saliva of a full-blown AIDS patient has too little HIV to be contagious.

Me? I preach in every 1st Aid or CPR class:
1. The choice of going mouth-to-mouth with your patient is YOUR choice.
2. I will go mouth to mouth only with six people in the world - my wife, my kids, my mom, & my grandson. Any exception to that rule would be very, very rare. You don't know where the patient's mouth has been! (I mention Monica Lewinsky as an example.)
3. I act as though ALL body (bodily) fluids have every disease in the world. I tell my students:

"If it's wet, and it's NOT yours, don't play in it!".

When I teach LEOs, I tell them, "Never let anybody bite you. That's why God invented PR-24s - let the (expletive deleted) chew on that!"

BTW, you might hear that the dried blood from an HIV patient can no longer be contagious. That's a lie.

Although the HIV/AIDS virus "probably" dies when the blood dries, hepatitis, TB and other germs live much, MUCH longer. If you have to clean up blood, vomit, or ANY bodily fluid, I strongly recommend you exaggerate the threat and wear gloves, long sleeves, and especially eye protection. If bleach won't hurt what you're cleaning, one part bleach to nine parts water is a good cleaning solution (stronger is NOT better) and soak it for at least 15 minutes.

Items contaminated with bodily fluids should be disposed of safely. Use the red bloodborne pathogen bags when available. Otherwise, use a garbage bag and keep it sealed, isolated, and under your control until you can dispose of the contaminated items in a proper (legal) manner. LEOs, Fire Depts & EMS can help you - so can hospitals.

Take care of yourselves. This is no joke. This summer at San Antonio College (in my EMT recertification class), I was told 200 or so EMS people die each year from diseases contracted from their on-duty patients. Don't be paranoid about this - just be careful.

It's great to be a hero. It's not so great to bring home some horrible disease that also can infect your loved ones.

Svoboda ne bezplatnoe

[This message has been edited by Dennis (edited 01-11-99).]
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