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3 possible (albeit ridiculous) reasons women are less likely to get CPR from bystanders


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If someone needs CPR, should their gender matter? Of course not! You, an upstanding human, would obviously lend a helping, potentially life-saving hand (and rescue breath) to someone who’s suffering, but unfortunately the same courtesy might not be extended to you, according to a new study.

The research, which the Associated Press reports was published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, claims that women are less likely than men to receive CPR from a bystander, thus increasing the likelihood that they die of cardiac arrest in a public place. While 45 percent of men in need were given CPR, only 39 percent of women received the same treatment—and, ultimately, men were 23 percent more likely to survive.

While 45 percent of men in need were given CPR, only 39 percent of women received the same treatment—and, ultimately, men were 23 percent more likely to survive.

Though this news might sound about as ludicrous as a $400 Keurig for juice, the 20,000 countrywide cases don’t lie. And the bystanders’ reasoning for avoiding CPR on women is even more eyebrow-raising.

Scroll for 3 reasons women are less likely to get CPR from bystanders.

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1. It might be painful

Honestly, CPR probably doesn’t feel great on anyone—man or woman. But even though it’s a life-or-death situation, people are still squeamish about using the technique, because they’re afraid of hurting the woman: “It can be kind of daunting thinking about pushing hard and fast on the center of a woman’s chest,” study author Audrey Blewer told the Associated Press.

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2. It’s invasive

Some people worry about crossing boundaries of privacy and modestly in order to effectively perform CPR. But, according to study author Benjamin Abella, no clothes need to be removed, and no privacy needs to be violated.

“You put your hands on the sternum, which is the middle of the chest. In theory, you’re touching in between the breasts,” Abella said.

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3. Training is lacking

It’s also possible that bystanders don’t how to perform CPR on a woman. Think about it: Any certification class you might’ve taken probably involved a male-torso mannequin—so, clearly the use of “woman-nequins” is overdue.

The American Heart Association reports CPR can double—or even triple!—the odds of someone surviving a cardiac arrest, so it’s time to make sure all people are properly taken care of in a time of need. There are plenty of opportunities for certification through the American Red Cross, so consider educating yourself during this giving season as a means to help someone down the line.

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