What does it feel like to do CPR?

An ALS instructor shares her experiences performing CPR and what to expect


Nearly everyone in EMS has thought about being thrust into a situation where they’re required to use their knowledge of CPR to save a life in dramatic fashion. A user on Quora recently asked, “How does it feel to perform CPR on a real person?” A few answers stood out to us, especially one by an ALS instructor named Lou Davis. You can read her reply below: 

It feels as though you are holding someone's life in your hands.

Because for the time that you are compressing the chest, you are the one thing that is, potentially, keeping that person's brain oxygenated.

You are standing between them and death.

I could tell you how it feels physically - but in truth it isn't markedly different from the mannequin.

You may feel ribs breaking - particularly in older patients where the ribs have lost the elasticity of youth.

But the overwhelming feeling is that of responsibility - it may be the most important thing you have ever done.

I have performed CPR many, many times, on patients ranging in age from mere days, to those who have already had their 'four score years'. I have rhythmically compressed the chest of those who I know will be taken before their time. Each and every time it feels as hard as the first time.

Their life in your hands. That's what it feels like.

Do you remember the first time you performed CPR on a patient? Was it what you expected or how was it different? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out our Facebook page.

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