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Survivor Awards for those who rendered help at critical moments

Recipients recognised at the awards included rescuers, fire fighters and paramedics who helped perform CPR or defibrillation.

SINGAPORE: Time is of the essence for victims of cardiac arrest and every minute is crucial. The efforts of those who rendered help at that critical moment were recognised during the Survivor Awards ceremony on Wednesday (Sep 3).

Nurse Amanda Tan never thought that her mother would be the first person she applied cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on. Last year, 61-year-old Mdm Mary Ann Lee suddenly lost conscious and had no pulse. That was when her daughter stepped in to help.

Ms Tan, a recipient of the Survivor Awards Singapore 2014, recalled: "The paramedics advised us to carry her onto a flat surface. When I noticed that my dad was about to perform CPR, which he has no idea how to do, I said 'I have to take over, because I know how to perform CPR'. From then on, it just came quite naturally. Fortunately, I know how to perform CPR, so that was actually really not much of an issue."

Other recipients recognised at the awards included rescuers, fire fighters and paramedics who helped perform CPR or defibrillation, which involves using a device to give an electric shock to the heart. They received certificates of commendation from Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

Every year, there are more than 1,500 cardiac arrest cases in Singapore that happen away from hospitals. Whether the victims are at parks, swimming pools or even in their own homes, the difference between life and death can be a matter of minutes.

"Sudden cardiac arrest can occur to anyone at anytime. And basically, your chances of survival would decrease by 10 per cent for every minute that nothing is done," said Associate Professor Marcus Ong, organising chairperson of the Survivor Awards Singapore. "However, our research has shown that if someone starts CPR at the patient's side, your chance of survival will double or even triple.

“At the moment, the CPR bystander rate in Singapore is only 20 per cent, and we hope this event will raise awareness about out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and the difference we can all make as bystanders."