Deadly Sexism or Just Being Careful?

Nov 06

Deadly Sexism or Just Being Careful?

In a new survey (Poster Presentation 198) Colorado researchers asked 54 people online to explain why women might be less likely to get CPR when they collapse in public. In the replies, the team identified four themes:

  • Potentially inappropriate touching or exposure;
  • Fear of being accused of sexual assault;
  • Fear of causing physical injury;
  • Poor recognition of women in cardiac arrest — specifically a perception that women are less likely to have heart problems, or may be over-dramatizing or “faking” an incident; or
  • The misconception that breasts make CPR more challenging.

“The consequences of all of these major themes is that women will potentially receive no CPR or delays in initiation of CPR,” Perman said. “While these are actual fears the public holds, it is important to realize that CPR is lifesaving and should be rendered to collapsed individuals regardless of gender, race or ethnicity.”

Worries about accusations of sexual assault or inappropriate touching were cited twice as many times by men as by women, while more women mentioned fear of causing injury. Although the study was too small to discern definite trends, these concerns may represent an important challenge in public health messaging, Perman said.

“Bystander CPR has been linked to better survival and neurological recovery after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Quality chest compressions require that rescuers put their hands on the chest and push hard — regardless of (recipient’s) gender, the act of CPR is no different,” she said.

The pool of responders was about 60 percent male and 85 percent Caucasian. Almost three in 10 reported having received CPR training.

Date: November 5, 2018

Source: American Heart Association

Summary: Separate studies explore why women are less likely to receive bystander CPR. A small survey found that people may worry that chest compressions by bystanders will seem improper or may hurt women. A virtual reality study found that even female avatars were less likely to receive CPR from bystanders in a virtual simulation.

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