Self Regional Healthcare hosted a “First Responders Expo” on Saturday to educate the public about heart disease and heart attacks in support of Heart Month.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women. CDC statistics show that 600,000 deaths, or 1-in-4 Americans, are a result of heart disease.
The expo was free to the public and aimed at encouraging the public to call 911 if they are experiencing any symptoms of a heart attack. Some common symptoms are chest pain, difficulty breathing, sweating, feeling of heartburn or indigestion, nausea and rapid heartbeat, among others.
According to Kendra Keeney, administrative director of cardiovascular services for Self Regional Healthcare, time is of the essence when it comes to heart attacks.
“So many people will ignore the symptoms and drive themselves to the hospital,” Keeney said. “With a heart attack, every minute counts. People need to call 911 and let the paramedics get the treatment started while they are on the way to the hospital.”
For Keeney, heart attacks and knowing CPR are personal. She lost her father just four short weeks ago to a heart attack. Her daughter, Julie Kate, who is now an attorney with the Attorney General’s office, had a near-drowning accident when she was 2 years old. Keeney performed CPR on her daughter that day and doctors later told Keeney that she saved her daughter’s life.
“For me, this is very personal,” Keeney said. “You can save a life if you know CPR and it could be the life of a loved one.”
Jimmy and Melissa Hollingsworth brought their six children to the expo so that they could learn CPR as a family.
“We thought it would be a good idea for all of us to come,” Melissa Hollingsworth said. “We wanted to let them know it’s okay to call 911 and get help if a member of our family is having a heart attack.”
“This is pretty amazing,” said Jessica Price, one of the Hollingsworth’s six children. “I am wanting to go into nursing so this is really good experience.”
Those in attendance first observed emergency personnel treating a heart attack patient from the time EMS arrived through the emergency room visit and consultation with a cardiologist. Dr. Paul Kim, a cardiologist in Greenwood, was present to answer questions from the audience about heart attacks and reducing risk factors.
The presentation was followed by a 20-minute CPR training from the American Heart Association called Family and Friends CPR anytime.” Though a certification did not accompany the training, it familiarized those present with CPR and its use.