Putting skills into practice: Cadets performed CPR on cardiac arrest victim

Written by: Eng Yu Fan, Brigade Corporate Communications
Photographs by: Jonathan Ng Shen You, Brigade Corporate Communications

Leaders of Damai St John. From Left to Right: Ms Nur Diyana, Aqasha, Eunice, Xinyun, and Syahiran.

It is probably a situation that many teenagers will not be able to handle: seeing a person lying unconscious on the ground, with no signs of life. Cadets Eunice and Aqasha, both 15, were however able to calm their nerves and render valuable assistance to the victim, due to their first aid training as St John cadets.

Damai Corps’ annual training camp proved to be an unforgettable one this year, when the school’s security guard was found unconscious by the school gate on the morning of 8 November by Corps SO(5) An Xinyun, a Registered Nurse and student at the Singapore Institute of Technology. Her instincts as a professional nurse kicked in and she immediately called for assistance and commenced CPR on the victim.

Eunice and Aqasha, both of whom have previously completed the CPR+AED course at St John Headquarters, assisted their officer by setting up the Automated External Defibrillator, and also took over chest compressions when asked to do so.

Clearly, the incident is one that nobody has expected. Xinyun, in particular, never thought that she will encounter a case alongside her cadets.

“I’m really happy that my cadets came forward to help and did not shun their responsibilities as first aiders,” Xinyun shared. “I believe that we can continue to engage our cadets in public duties and allow them to assist in major cases as well; with more experience, they will be less likely to be shocked when an unexpected incident like this occurs. Whatever we learn should be shared and put into practice by our cadets.”

Through this incident, for example, the cadets learnt that performing CPR on a human body is different from doing so on a dummy; Eunice and Aqasha shared the need to remain calm and continue compression even when “popping” or cracking sounds were heard – a result of cartilagenous joints between the ribs and the sternum being displaced, and a normal side effect of CPR.

While the victim unfortunately succumbed to his injuries two days after the incident, the members were not discouraged and believed they have done their best to assist. Through this experience, both Eunice and Aqasha realised the importance of First Aid In their daily lives, and are proud that they can put theory into practice by helping someone outside of training hours.

“I previously felt that first aid lessons were boring, but without these lessons I would not have been able to assist the victim,” said Eunice, who also added that she derives fulfilment from helping others. Aqasha concurred, adding, “First Aid skills are very important; it is like magic, and can bring miracles to those who need help.”

Both members, who chose St John as their CCA due to a shared passion in the nursing industry, aims to continue serving St John after graduation, so that they can impart their knowledge and experience to future generations of students.

Damai Corps’ Nursing Officer, Syahiran, a Registered Nurse with Tan Tock Seng Hospital and who assisted the paramedics in the loading up of the casualty into the ambulance, was undoubtedly proud of his members. “This incident also shows the importance of quality CPR+AED training. I encourage everyone to pick up this skill because we do not know when we will have to use it on someone else.”

This pride was also shared by their teacher-in-charge, Ms Nur Diyana. “I am proud of my VALs and cadets who were so quick, calm, and prompt in their response.”

“As a bystander, I, too, would want someone around who is well-trained in first aid skills and who will be able to render valuable assistance. It is heartening to see our students put their acquired skills into practice, and hopefully benefit more people in their years ahead.”

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