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Monday, January 9, 2012

Bill Could Require Students to Take CPR

Posted at: 01/04/2012 10:12 PM - By: Paige Calhoun

Math, science, and english are all required subjects needed to receive a high school diploma, but now some health officials are calling for CPR to be added to that list.

CPR can double or triple survival from cardiac arrest, and now the American Heart Association has drafted a bill that would make CPR training for high school students law. Dr. Mary Boylan is a cardiothoracic surgeon at St. Luke's Hospital. She also sits on the American Heart Association Midwest Affiliate Board of Directors and said students are the perfect age to learn.

"We have a whole student body. They're young, they're able, they have a lifetime that they can use the education about CPR to save lives. We're all going to be touched by heart disease," Boylan said.

Under the proposal, Minnesota high schoolers would have to take a 30 minute CPR course before they could graduate. They would learn basic hands-only CPR and how to use a defibrillator. Local providers in the community would foot the bill.

The goal is to get citizens to act before medics arrive, as survival is less than one percent with no CPR.

"People have heart attacks when they're at football games, when they're at home, anyplace. If we were all trained in CPR, then we can be the first person to actually help save a life," Boylan said.

According to Duluth School Officials, both East and Denfeld high schools talk about and teach the method in their health curriculum, which students are required to take. However, certification is not required.

The first draft of the bill will be introduced sometime in the 2012 legislative session, but it could change as it makes its way through the legislative process. States like Iowa and Alabama have signed similar bills into law, but shifted the CPR class from a requirement to simply being available to all students.


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