CBS Evening News – Panel Makes Case for More CPR Training

A panel of experts say the death rate from cardiac arrests would be lower if more people knew CPR. CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook reports on the push for more widespread training.

For more information, see Video Transcript below.



Video Transcript:

[CBS Evening News Anchor, Scott Pelley]: Today, the Institute of Medicine called for a national campaign to fight the number three killer of Americans – sudden cardiac arrest. The survival rate outside of hospitals is just 6%. And even when the patient is treated by first responders, only 11% survive.

Here’s Dr. Jon LaPook.


[CBS News Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Jon LaPook]: The last thing that 62-year old Steve Tannenbaum remembers from May 6, 2009 is walking onto a softball field.

[Steve Tannenbaum]: “I was found blue, without a pulse and no clinical signs of life at all.”

[Dr. Jon LaPook]: He had sudden cardiac arrest. Two bystanders started CPR and within 3 to 5 minutes, the police arrived with a defibrillator and shocked Tenembaum’s heart.

[Steve Tannenbaum]: “I was just incredibly lucky to be at the right place at the right time.”

[Dr. Jon LaPook]: The report found [(Source: Institute of Medicine)] that annually less than 3% of the US receives CPR training. And defibrillators are used by bystanders in just 4% of non-hospital cardiac arrests.

Dr. Clifton Callaway is Vice Chairman of Emergency Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

[Dr. Clifton Callaway]: “The number one priority is to be giving them chest compressions so that you’re circulating the blood for them.”

“There are videos that will teach you in less than two minutes the basic steps that you need to know that could help double a chance of somebody surviving a sudden cardiac arrest.”

[End of Video]

[Scott Pelley]: Jon, intervention by bystanders is pretty rare. Why is that?

[Dr. Jon LaPook]: I think one big reason, Scott, is that people are afraid of hurting somebody. But Scott, if somebody goes down with cardiac arrest and you’re a bystander, you may very well be their best chance for survival. And even in the chance unfortunately that the person dies, that the resuscitation is not successful, and I’ve been in that situation with families, at least the families have the peace of mind of knowing that their loved one had a shot. They don’t have to go the rest of their lives thinking what if.

Now, Scott, if people want to see those instructional videos, they can go to our website at and there’s some other information there too.

[Scott Pelley]: Do that, save a life.

Jon, thank you very much.