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CPR Instructor on a Mission to Save Lives

CPR Instructor on a Mission to Save Lives

June 14, 2020 | Last Updated: July 16, 2021

On both a professional and personal level, Marilyn understands the importance of CPR and Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). In her work as a critical care nurse, she has seen how early CPR and defibrillation increase survival chances for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) patients. And having lost nine family members to SCA, she wants people to have these life-saving skills and devices. 

As a CPR instructor, Marilyn tells her students that, when it comes to CPR and AEDs, don’t be afraid! Doing CPR and using a defibrillator is simple. Marilyn believes that making CPR/AED education straightforward and frequent will enable more people to save lives. 

Marilyn shares her knowledge and expertise at the Cardiac Arrest Survival Summit. 



In this video you’ll learn…




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Full Transcript

Marilyn (00:00):

So, first of all, I’m a critical care ER nurse. That’s my background and I’ve been a nurse for more than 40 years. In the hospital we receive people who did not have resuscitation in the field. Sometimes, they don’t even make it to us because no one knew what to do. I teach CPR because, without it, patients don’t have a chance to survive. My personal story is that nine members of my family, my immediate and my parent’s family died of sudden cardiac death under the age of 50. It’s a high frequency event and it doesn’t just happen to old people. So why don’t we have any access to good, easy rescue in the community? EMS is going to take awhile. Everyone needs to know CPR. So that’s what I do and I want to make sure everyone that I know knows how to rescue me or someone else. 

Marilyn (01:02):

Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen in your family. It happens when you least suspect it. And CPR is so easy to do. People are afraid of getting infections. People are afraid of harming someone else. When the rubber meets the road and their heart’s not beating, you can’t make it any worse. You can only make it better. And any effort is a good effort. And the better we teach people and the simpler we make it, the more people are going to survive. Children can do it, adults can do it. Anyone can. And we all need to know how. And none of us wants to believe we’re going to be faced with that emergency, but we need to be able to recall it and do it fast if it does happen because we all want to know what to do. We all want to save those people that are close to us or the ones that we don’t even know. 

Marilyn (01:47):

So using defibrillators came round 20 years ago, more so. When we first started using defibrillators, we were so excited because the chance of saving someone with CPR is one thing. But defibrillators are simple devices that can make their heart beat again. Using a defibrillator doesn’t have to be something that you’re afraid to do. It talks to you, it’s intuitive. It walks you through every step of the way and you can save someone, you have to do the CPR, and then you add another device that’ll make their heartbeat again. CPR buys you time until you can make the heartbeat. So without a defibrillator, you’re not quite there often. The longer it takes for the defibrillator to arrive again, the harder you have to work with your CPR and maintain blood flow. So if we have an AED that is easy to put on to someone that will talk them through the process, that will calm them down when they’re terrified. That’s the kind of device we need. And if it’s small and it’s available and it’s lightweight and it doesn’t cost so much money that we can’t afford to hang on to it and it’s maintenance low, that’s what we need. That’s what we need defibrillators  everywhere we go. They need to be on the street corners, they need to be in my backpack. They need to be everywhere. So everyone has access, not just those that are in the right place at the right time. 

Marilyn (03:15):

Sure. So many of us as trainers, we go into facilities and everybody practices and every two years you renew your skills. I got excited call one day from a dentist who office I trained every two years like clockwork. We did a lot of little drills. He retired and he took his AED with him on his boat and he was in Florida and he got off the boat and there was a ruckus on the dock and somebody said, we need some help. Does anybody know what to do? And he got his AED. He did CPR, any successfully delivered to shocks. And with the second shock, the victim woke up, he called me. He was so thrilled. He said, I can’t believe I saved a life. So it was very exciting. And one of my instructors was actually at work when one of her coworkers collapsed and recently she revived him. So she did CPR, they brought the AED, she knew how to operate it. And this 32 year old coworker is alive and back to work today because of it. So there are so many more stories and it’s so exciting when we see those, those  successes with what we do. So it doesn’t get any worse than not having a heartbeat and not breathing. But if we can sustain that circulation and get that defibrillator on, the chances are pretty good that we can get someone back. 

Marilyn (04:45):

It needs to be in every school curriculum. It needs to be in college curriculum. It needs to be a requirement to renew your driver’s license or get a state ID badge or whatever. You need to identify yourself. Anything official we should require CPR training to do that. If you’re getting supplements from the government, you should have to be able to know how to do CPR to receive that because it’s a life skill and it’s a responsibility we all have to care for one another as human beings.