It’s a simple emergency procedure that can save lives. Yet, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is not part of the five-year MBBS syllabus.
Realising this lacuna in their education, doctors are now signing up for CPR training from experts.
CPR involves manual chest compressions — to restart blood circulation in case of a cardiac arrest — and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to induce artificial respiration.
Last week, the General Practitioners Association (GPA) organised a training session for its members at Nanavati Hospital. Dr Udayan Desai, Dr Rajani Desai, and Dr Asmita Hegde, all consultant anaesthetists, conducted the session.
Calling themselves “revival consultants”, the three have been offering CPR training for the last 30 years. “Earlier, we had to approach doctors and insist on a training session. However, in the past month, several doctors have asked for training,” said Dr Desai.
“We have learned about CPR, but do not get much practice. I came here to brush up my memory,” said Dr SP Kataria, after he performed CPR on a mannequin the experts had brought to practice on.
Some doctors expressed inhibitions about providing artificial breathing to HIV-positive patients. Dr Desai explained that the HIV virus does not spread through a few drops of saliva.
The problem, Dr Desai said, is that CPR is not a part of the MBBS curriculum. “CPR is taught only to postgraduates of anaesthesia, surgery and medicine,” he said.
“Generally practitioners only have theoretical knowledge about CPR. It is good to have hands-on training,” said Dr Priti Bhargava, who organised the training session.
Dr Ashok Balsekar, president of Indian Medical Association (IMA), west Mumbai, who invited the revival consultants to train IMA members, said: “If somebody gets an attack on the road, we should be able to help.”
“CPR should be taught in schools to students above 13 years as part of the curriculum,” said Dr Desai.