T. Britton “Britt” Percy: We should all learn how to administer CPR

Last modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2014
To the editor:

As a resident of Hampshire County, I care a great deal about the health, wellness and safety of my family, friends and neighbors. I feel grateful to live in a community where my fellow residents share my concern.

While we don’t often think about it, one of the most important things we can do to be a good neighbor is to learn how to perform CPR. If someone in your family, a neighbor or someone in the grocery store collapsed of sudden cardiac arrest, would you know what to do?

Of the 383,000 people that suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital each year, the vast majority do not receive bystander CPR, and less than 11 percent survive. But if given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates.

I am alive today because I was fortunate enough to have bystanders nearby who knew to administer CPR when I suffered a heart attack and cardiac arrest while driving in Northampton in April of 2013. By teaching the students in our community CPR we could save many lives by filling our communities with young adults trained to give cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive until EMTs arrive. In less time than it takes to watch a TV sitcom, we can give students the skills they need to help save a person’s life with CPR. The American Heart Association has issued new guidelines for hands-only CPR. It’s now easier than ever to teach, learn and perform. We should make sure that all students learn CPR before they graduate from high school so that our community will be filled with individuals that know how to respond in a cardiac emergency.

T. Britton “Britt” Percy


The writer, a doctor, is chief of hospital medicine at Noble Hospital in Westfield.