Why Are People So Afraid of Administering CPR?

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When examining the nature of providing CPR, it’s easy to understand why people may be tentative about it. After all, someone’s life is literally in your hands. But what other reasons hamper people’s decision-making when it comes time to perform CPR?

This article discusses the potential reasons people may fear performing CPR and how to overcome this fear to ensure you’re of the utmost service in medical emergencies. Continue reading to learn how to conquer your fears and save a life when called to act.

People Worry That They Will Perform CPR Incorrectly

It’s not every day that you find yourself thrust into the throes of a life or death situation. There’s no telling when medical emergencies will occur.

Perhaps you’ll be riding the bus one day, and someone suddenly collapses, or maybe you get off your lunch break at work and find someone lying unresponsive on the floor. Whatever the situation, it’s natural to wonder whether your skills are sharp enough to aid matters or whether they will ultimately cause more harm than good.

In fact, a study published in the NCBI found that under 50% of Americans would be comfortable performing CPR if they found themselves in an emergency medical situation.

People Are Afraid They Will Cause Injury

Performing CPR on a dummy is one thing. Performing CPR on a live human being is an entirely different experience. On top of the pressure that mounts from knowing you’re responsible for saving someone’s life, most certification programs let participants know they might cause the cardiac arrest victim injuries such as breaking their ribs.

This knowledge can cause the bystander to feel too much pressure and lose composure when it matters most.

People Are Afraid of the Legal Repercussions

People are often afraid that the victim will sue them if they get injured during a bystander’s CPR. This fear is amplified among bystanders when they consider performing CPR on women because of potential sexual assault charges.

Because bystanders have to perform chest compressions, bystanders may feel uneasy performing CPR on females. However, there has never been a successful lawsuit against someone who performed CPR.

Bystanders should feel safe performing CPR on anyone because most states have Good Samaritan laws that give them amnesty from any legal action. Even if the person isn’t CPR certified and performs CPR incorrectly, they perform CPR out of the desire to save a life. Unless the person who conducts CPR commits gross negligence, they have nothing to fear in the way of legal consequences.

People Are Afraid They Will Catch a Disease.

Because mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is a substantial CPR component, people may worry about getting sick from giving it to other people. This fear isn’t entirely illogical. People do run a risk of catching potentially harmful diseases, but the risk is low. There are also ways to mitigate the risks involved.

To prevent transmission, you should wear personal protective equipment when giving CPR. If you’re in the office, you can find gloves in the First-aid kit. Most CPR agencies have also modified their recommendations to focus on chest compressions over rescue breaths. By performing what’s known as hands-only CPR, you can drastically reduce the risk of catching a disease.

It’s always important to consider your safety before performing CPR. However, if you’re concerned about catching a disease, you should resort to performing hands-only CPR.

Steps To Overcome Your Fears About CPR

One of the easiest ways to overcome your fears regarding CPR is by becoming CPR certified. Knowledge and experience are the best teachers, and these classes will help make you feel at ease when considering performing CPR on cardiac arrest victims.

Memorizing the steps to CPR can also help you feel comfortable in high-stress situations where someone is in cardiac arrest. The following are the steps to CPR:

Before Performing CPR:

  1. Examine the scene and ensure its safety. Try to rouse the person by shouting at them and shaking them gently.
  2. If the person is unresponsive, call 911 immediately and send someone to get an AED. If there is no one else to access the AED, check for breathing, and begin CPR.


  1. Open the airway by turning the victim on their back, tilting their head back, and slightly lifting their chin.
  2. Check for breathing. Listen carefully for sounds of breathing for no more than ten seconds. If there is no breathing, begin CPR.

CPR Steps

  1. Placing your hands on the victim’s chest, one over top the other, perform 30 chest compressions at the rate of 100 BPM. An easy way to tell whether you’re pumping at the correct rate is by humming “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees in your head.
  2. Deliver two rescue breaths. (If you’re concerned about diseases, forego this step.) Pinch the victim’s nose and place your mouth over theirs to form a complete seal.
  3. Blow into the person’s mouth to make their chest rise.
  4. Return to performing chest compressions.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4.

Conclusion- Why Are People So Afraid of Administering CPR?

The reasons people get squeamish regarding performing CPR are plentiful. Perhaps they’re afraid of someone’s life hanging in the balance. Maybe they don’t want to touch a stranger inappropriately, or they’re fearful of legal percussions, injury, and disease.

All of these reasons may seem trivial to the average person, but there’s no telling how you’ll react to an emergency until you find yourself in one. That’s why preparation and readiness matter. By completing an online or in-person CPR course, or London CPR courses, you ensure that you’ll be prepared for these stressful situations.

When it comes to saving someone’s life, nothing else matters besides keeping the person alive. It can be challenging to remember that in the heat of the moment. If you find yourself in an emergency where someone needs life-saving CPR procedures, don’t let the fear take hold. Get CPR certified and ensure that you remain poised when called upon to administer life-saving techniques. Whoever you save should thank you when you’re done.

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