Should CPR be taught at Secondary School?

THEY lost their brother in a tragic drowning accident and now Adelaide teenagers Jocelyn and Kailum Teggerth want to help ensure others don't suffer the same fate.

The Greenwith siblings have launched a push for a change to the high school curriculum which would require all students to learn CPR, the life-saving resuscitation technique that could potentially save up to 12,000 Australians a year.

Their call has the backing of the Australian Resuscitation Council, Red Cross, Australian Medical Association, St John's Ambulance and Surf Lifesaving SA.

Federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett also supports making CPR an explicit option in the curriculum for students in Years 9 and 10

The Teggerths lost their brother Brayden, 17, on Boxing Day last year when he crashed a motorbike into a dam.

Jocelyn, who was 14 at the time, dragged her 173cm older brother from the dam and Kailum began performing CPR but, in this case, they were unable to revive him.

This year they were awarded Pride of Australia Child of Courage medals for their efforts.

Kailum said instinct from years of training through the Scouts kicked in.

"I just knew what to do and started," he said. "I know a couple of people who know how to do CPR but not that many, and you never know when you are going to need it."

Heart Foundation SA chief executive Dr Amanda Rischbieth, who supports the campaign, said there was no registry for cardiac arrests, but estimates suggested there were about 30,000 each year in Australia.

ARC spokesman Paul Middleton said less than 10 per cent of Australians who suffered cardiac arrest survived outside a hospital.

But, he said, if we were to adopt a similar model to that in Seattle, in the US state of Washington, where CPR was widely taught and defibrillators available, survival rates could be nearer their 40 per cent.

That would equate to 12,000 people a year.

South Australian Ambulance Service chief medical officer Dr Stefan Mazur said CPR should be attempted on any person who has no signs of life.

"Even if the victim takes occasional breaths, you should still commence CPR," Dr Mazur said. "If you do not feel comfortable . . . do chest compressions. This can mean the difference between life and death."

Surf Life Saving state president Shane Daw said he "100 per cent supported" the Teggerths' campaign.

An Education Department spokeswoman said the decision to provide first aid training rested with schools.



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