New rule: CPR for 30 minutes before taking cardiac arrest victims to hospital

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — First responders in Rhode Island are taking on a significant change in policy for the treatment of cardiac arrest victims.

Starting March 1, as dictated by the Rhode Island Department of Health, emergency response personnel will be required to conduct 30 minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, on cardiac arrest victims before transporting them to the hospital.

“We want to make sure the public knows it’s very important” to wait before moving the patient, said Portsmouth fire chief Michael Cranson. “It’s one of the biggest changes we’ve seen in the state in regard to our prehospital protocols. We have changes often, but this is a big change.”

And there will be a learning curve. Everyone’s instinct is that a person in suffering health must be rushed to the hospital right away, Cranson added, “so we want to get the message out very quickly, before such an event occurs, so that they know that is in the best interest of their loved one.”

Warwick’s fire department has already adopted the policy, and that city’s fire chief, James McLaughlin, said the practice has already saved two lives.

“The whole goal of this is to get a return of spontaneous circulation in the patient… The literature is telling us that the best way, or the most likely positive outcome, will be a result of staying on scene and performing chest compressions for 30 minutes,” Cranson said.