Edward J Rytell submitted 2020-08-04

The ACLS Scholarship for Health Care Providers specifically interests me because I have been involved in some type of healthcare since I was teenager. This scholarship would mean a lot to me and my journey with my education.

It all started when I was 16 and worked for my town’s volunteer ambulance squad. My father was a member of the volunteer ambulance squad in my home town as well, and the day he passed away, while we were mowing the lawn together, was his day of service. There was a delay in getting someone there as the dispatcher had to find someone else to take his place. I was 10 at the time. At the age of 13, I took my first CPR class. I did this because I felt that everyone should know how to perform CPR in case of an emergency.

I currently have as Associates Degree in Radiologic Technology and am working towards my Bachelors in Business Administration Healthcare Management. My goal is to get a Masters in Healthcare Administration.

I have performed CPR several times in my lifetime. From the days of being on the ambulance squad, to my days as working as Radiologic Technologist and dealing with contrast reactions. I have spent 40 years as a rad tech and have worked in many environments including main X-ray, the ER, special procedures, and the Cath Lab. I deal with people every day, some with minor illnesses and some with very serious conditions. I stay prepared by keeping up with training. At my current job it is actually mandatory to take the Heart Association BLS course annually even though it is good for a two year period.

Every morning my work day starts with making sure the crash cart has been checked and that everything needed for an emergency is there. Whenever I am with a patient I make sure I know their medical history, usually before they even arrive in my department. It is much easier today with electronic records than with the old paper charts of the past. I try to prepare myself for any situation.

Anywhere I travel I look for AED’s and first aid stations just to make sure I know where they are in case of an emergency. Restaurants, theaters, sporting events, even malls are equipped with AED’s now. It all comes back to my thoughts of “would I have lost my dad at 10 if my mother or I knew CPR? Could we have saved his life back then?” That is why I try to always stay prepared so I can do my best to try and save some other 10 year old kids dad.

I feel very strongly that CPR should be taught in all grade schools in our country. You may never need to use it, but if you do, you should know how to do it properly. There are stories all over the internet about how some kid saved someone life by performing CPR until the medics arrived.

Time is muscle and every heartbeat counts. How many more people would live if everyone knew CPR and was not afraid of performing it if needed? The not being afraid is the most important part. You need to be not only prepared for it by being trained but also mentally prepared. Do not hesitate. Be confident in yourself and your ability. You need to be prepared and know that it is not the movies not everyone is going to survive but they definitely will not survive if you do nothing.

In my field most cardiac arrests happen from two areas. The ER patient who is in Radiology for an exam who was not in very good condition even before they arrived. Secondly, the seemingly healthy patient that has arrived for a procedure that involves contrast and at some point during the procedure they have a reaction. With either patient you need to be prepared. Always know where the closest AED or crash cart is located. Always be prepared mentally. Never say I don’t need to know how to do this there will always be someone else around. Even if there is they might not know how to perform BLS and CPR. Every minute CPR is delayed it is costing the victim heart muscle.

Today with everything going on with COVID-19 it is even more important to understand that if the heart is not beating, blood is not circulating, and oxygen is not getting to any of your organs. That is why being ready and prepared is so important. Do not delay use what you were taught. Check the scene to make sure it is safe. Tell anyone there to call 911. Check for responsiveness. Check pulse and breathing and start compressions. The faster this happens the better the chance of survival.

Be prepared be the person that saved the life. Or at least the person that tried. Make it a family thing. Take the class with your spouse and kids. It may be you one day that needs saving.