Earn CPR/AED certification at Optometry’s Meeting® in Denver.

Earn CPR/AED certification at Optometry’s Meeting® in Denver.

Count DeAnn Fitzgerald, O.D., among those who earned CPR certification neither expecting nor certainly ever hoping to use it. But when the time did come to use those skills, Dr. Fitzgerald was ready, time and time again-and again and again.

Attend the course 1-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 20, or 5-8:30 p.m. Friday, June 22.

"I'm not a good bystander," Dr. Fitzgerald concludes, reflecting on the four instances she's performed CPR since first learning it for a side job in optometry school. Each of those circumstances underscore the suddenness with which cardiovascular emergencies happen: at a charity golf outing, during a wedding, in the middle of the night, at the gym.

The numbers are staggering: Each year, more than 400,000 Americans go into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital; only 6 percent of them survive. There are myriad reasons why that survival rate is so low, but the fact of the matter remains that only 20 percent of Americans know CPR and less than 15 percent of bystanders will intervene in an emergency.

Consequently, Dr. Fitzgerald is an exception-for more reasons than one-who has literally been the difference between life and death, most recently during a kickboxing class.

"My partner just left the bag without saying anything," Dr. Fitzgerald recalls. "Suddenly, I realized someone was down and no one knew what to do, so I just took over."

The sequence was rote. There wasn't a breath or pulse, so Dr. Fitzgerald positioned her hands over the gentleman's breastbone and began chest compressions at a rate of 100 times per minutes. The EMTs were en route, and it was up to her to keep blood circulating. "It felt like an eternity," she recollects, fearing the worst once the EMTs did tap in.

It wasn't until later in the day that Dr. Fitzgerald learned her partner's fate: "He's alive in the hospital and wants to see you," a friend said. The physician revealed that only 8 percent of people live following this kind of cardiovascular event.

Typically, 'thank you' isn't the first thing that comes to mind after meeting the person who broke seven of your ribs, but it was more than apropos.

"He was just elated to talk to me," Dr. Fitzgerald says. "Two weeks later, he's coming to see me about his eyes. He comes and sees me now as a patient."

Numerous states include CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) certification among the continuing education (CE) requirements necessary toward maintenance of licensure. But even if doctors practice in a state that doesn't require CPR/AED certification, it's critical education, says Rosemarie Lobley-VanZant, CPOT, CPOC, AOA Health Promotions Committee member.

Although Maryland is among the states that require a current CPR certification, Lobley-VanZant highlights the benefits to certification in a rural locale such as hers in Chestertown, Maryland, nearly an hour and half outside Baltimore.

"We depend on volunteer EMTs, as well as some assistance from counties for medical emergencies," Lobley-VanZant says. "The problem is there are only two ambulances in our area-one staffed, one not-and if that staffed unit is busy, it can take time to get help. So, certification comes in handy, as does having an AED on-site."

Earn certification at Optometry's Meeting®

Whether you're looking to re-up your CPR/AED certification for state licensure requirements, or earn certification because you're not a bystander, Optometry's Meeting®, June 20-24, in Denver, Colorado, has you covered.

Open to doctors and paraoptometric staff, adult and infant CPR/AED certification is available from the American Red Cross during one of two separate 3 ½-hour courses. Attend the profession's premier conference and return home knowing you and your staff are equipped to handle the unthinkable.

"All doctors of optometry should get CPR education," Dr. Fitzgerald says. "This is one area that I'd like to see more doctors of optometry embrace not only for their own education, but also for the community involvement."

Click here to view the 2018 CE Course Catalog for Optometry's Meeting.

February 21, 2018

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