Q. A family member is tending to an elderly patient that according to his doctor became suddenly susceptible to blood clots and may suffer from a possible heart attack. If that would happen and CPR is needed, but the chest bones of the elder are so fragile and brittle that CPR may actually have a detrimental effect, what should that caregiver do according to Halacha in such an emergency?
A. Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that since training, experience and medical knowledge are essential in such situation, the correct response is to contact Hatzalah immediately. The caregiver should consult them at once and make them aware of the situation, and be well prepared and able to summon them promptly if needed. The Rov stressed that the house number should be clear and easily noticeable, to save precious time.
A physician also recommended to obtain a self inflating bag for aiding respiration, (known as bag valve mask, or BVM. It is a hand-held device commonly used to provide positive pressure ventilation to patients who are not breathing or not breathing adequately).
It would also be advisable for the caregiver to take a course in CPR first aid, as soon as possible.
Rabbi a. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a