Yes, chivalry is dead.
More than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of the hospital each year, where CPR is the only immediate treatment available and can potentially triple a victim’s chances for survival.
But if you’re a woman, you might be outta luck.
Two new studies presented at the 2018 American Heart Association’s Resuscitation Science Symposium determined that the odds of receiving life-saving aid from a bystander vary considerably based on gender.
Previous research has already shown that women are less likely to receive CPR following cardiac arrest than men, but a new survey led by the Colorado School of Medicine in Denver asked online respondents to explain why.
The research team found four common responses: concerns of “inappropriate” touching or exposure; fear of being accused of sexual assault; and a misconception that breasts make CPR “more challenging.”
Oh, and the kicker: a totally erroneous view of women as less likely to have heart problems — and more likely to be dramatic or “faking” it.
“While these are actual fears the public holds, it is important to realize that CPR is lifesaving and should be rendered to collapsed individuals regardless of gender, race or ethnicity,” says lead study author Dr. Sarah M. Perman, assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado.
The first 54-person survey pool was 60 percent white male, and almost three in 10 claimed to have CPR training, but concerns over sexual-assault accusations were cited by men twice as much as the female respondents.
The second study, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Resuscitation Science, used virtual reality to test participants’ reaction to cardiac arrest.
Turns out men are just as clueless about computerized females.
In the simulation, a virtual pedestrian collapses in a busy city setting while someone nearby calls for help. Again, the 75 adult participants were less likely to give CPR or use an automated external defibrillator on women victims than men.
While these small, observational studies can’t be used to ascertain a clear-cut trend, researchers said they hope this study will help inform public-health messaging.
Come on guys, do better. It’s not as if we’re asking you to open the door, pull out our chairs, propose — or even something silly like give us equal pay.
We’re talking life or death here.
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