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Everyone should learn CPR!

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency medical procedure for a victim of cardiac arrest or, in some circumstances, respiratory arrest.  CPR is performed in hospitals, or in the community by laypersons or by emergency response professionals with the knowledge and skill to do so.   The purpose of CPR is to maintain a flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and the heart, thereby delaying tissue death and extending the brief window of opportunity for a successful recovery without permanent brain damage.  Take a couple of hours to learn CPR by contacting the services below.

St. John’s Ambulance

First aid and CPR save lives. As Canada’s standard for excellence in first aid and CPR services, St. John Ambulance plays an integral role in our society offering innovative programs and products, ensuring Canadians receive the best quality training and expertise.

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The Red Cross

The Canadian Red Cross offers a wide variety of First Aid and CPR training courses.  If you have never been trained in first aid or CPR, now is the time to learn how to save a life. If you have received CPR training, take a refresher course and learn how recent research has made it even easier to learn, retain and perform CPR.

Information regarding Blood Donation:

One unit of blood is the equivalent to one donation.  One blood donation – in just one hour – can save up to three lives.   Approximately every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood. In a recent poll, 52 per cent of Canadians say they, or a family member, have needed blood or blood products for surgery or for medical treatment.  In the Critical Care, Intensive Care, and Emergency areas patients require blood and blood products routinely to help them recover what their body is lacking.  In Canada, we are very fortunate to have one of the safest blood supply systems in the world.  Visit the Canadian Blood Services website.

Information regarding Organ Donation:

Beadonor.ca is the simple, electronic and quick way for you to register your consent for organ and tissue donation. It only takes a moment to register with results that will be long-lasting and positive.  Remember to tell your families and friends of your wish to be an organ donor.  FAQ and answers about organ donation can be found here.

Organ Donation from a Brain Dead individual:

The term brain death is defined as “irreversible unconsciousness with complete loss of brain function,” including the brain stem, although the heartbeat may continue.  Death is equivalent to brain stem death.  Factors in diagnosing brain death include irreversible cessation of brain function as demonstrated by fixed and dilated pupils, lack of eye movement, absence of respiratory reflexes (apparent if patient is taken off the ventilator), and unresponsiveness to painful stimuli. In addition, there should be evidence that the patient has experienced a disease or injury that could cause brain death. A final determination of brain death must involve demonstration of the total lack of electrical activity in the brain by two electroencephalographs (EEGs) taken twelve to twenty-four hours apart. Finally, the physician must rule out the possibilities of hypothermia or drug toxicities, the symptoms of which may mimic brain death. Some central nervous system functions such as spinal reflexes that can result in movement of the limbs or trunk may persist in brain death.

Unless medical personnel provide family members with information that all cognitive and life support functions have irreversibly stopped, the family may harbor false hopes for the loved one’s recovery. The heartbeat may continue or the patient may be on a ventilator (often inaccurately called “life support”) to maintain vital organs because brain dead individuals who were otherwise healthy are good candidates for organ donation. Doctors have to act fast to remove the organs when the patient has been declared brain dead.  This puts surgeons in the difficult situation of having to tell the family their loved one passed away while at the same time asking permission to remove their vital organs to save other lives.  In these cases, it may be difficult to convince improperly informed family members to agree to organ donation.  A Trillium Gift of Life worker will contact all such family members and discuss organ donation.

Organ Donation from a Cardiac Death:

Another option for donation is organ donation after cardiac death. This offers families the option of donation in cases where neurological criteria for death have not been met, and the decision to withdraw life-sustaining treatment has been made.  Again a Trillium Gift of Life worker will contact the family for a discussion of donation prior to withdrawing treatment.  The outcomes for organs transplanted after cardiac death are similar to those for organs transplanted after brain death.  The organs — most commonly the kidneys and liver but also the pancreas, lungs, and, in rare cases, the heart — are then recovered.  To avoid obvious conflicts of interest, neither the surgeon who recovers the organs nor any other personnel involved in transplantation can participate in end-of-life care or the declaration of death.

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