How an App Can Save a Life

Yesterday afternoon I received a press release from Physio Control in my email, and it is a story that I think needs to be shared.  PulsePoint, a revolutionary app designed to notify users that somebody nearby might need CPR played a key role in saving the life of a patient in Portland, Oregon.

An off-duty firefighter was working out at is gym when his phone alerted him that somebody outside in the parking lot was unresponsive.  Scott Brawner of the Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue followed the app’s map to the patient’s side.  57 year old Drew Basse was unresponsive in the gym’s parking lot and found to be pulseless and apneic.  Scott started CPR until paramedics from AMR and the Clackamas Fire Department arrived on scene.

Because of the app, a trained provider of CPR was at the patient’s side in less than two minutes.  Firefighter Brawner’s actions, along with the paramedics from AMR and the fire department completed the vital chain of survival that the American Heart Association rightfully promotes as being so vital to survival in sudden cardiac arrest.  The actions of everybody involved in this call resulted in the patient, Mr. Basse’s expected full recovery.

It is really remarkable what we can do with technology these days.  While there is a serious shortage of people who are willing to help in situations just like this one, there are still people out there who are willing to make a difference.  Apps like PulsePoint make that possible.  Without Scott Brawner’s presence on May 9th, there could have been a life threatening delay in an emergency where seconds truly count.  While most people would opt to call 9-1-1, and stand back to let someone else take care of the problem, Mr. Brawner allowed the trained he received as a firefighter which, coincidentally is training that anybody can receive, guide him through the treatment that his patient needed until more help arrived.

It amazes me that PulsePoint is not in place in more communities around the United States.  Currently, there exists a huge gap in the chain of survival.  In-hospital care is improving.  Pre-hospital care is evolving.  The gap exists though in what happens before the ambulance gets there.  We need more people on the streets trained in some form of CPR, whether it is hands only, or full CPR classes.  Something needs to be done, and some help is better than none in these situations.

What PulsePoint does is it improves access to these emergencies for people who are actually willing to help.  From looking at the app, it appears that its development and implementation is something originating on the west coast that is slowly creeping east.  There are not many communities east of the Mississippi that use PulsePoint in comparison to the number that are present in states like California.  In the meantime, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the app make its way to my county someday.

Stories like the one that was shared to my email today make me smile.  It is nice to see somebody step up to the plate, whether it is an off-duty public safety worker, or just an everyday citizen who realizes that there is a problem and wants to help.  Because of Scott Brawner’s quick actions, a life was saved.  Take a bow, Mr. Brawner; you are a true hero.