When Filipina nurse Emma Lapena got a frantic emergency phone call from the Philippines and learned that one of her nieces just passed out and had no pulse, she told her sister to give her niece CPR right away.
"I was really frantic and I said, why don’t you give her CPR, bakit hindi kayo mag CPR diyan? In short, may nangyari na ganun, hindi nila alam mag CPR, so naisipan ko as a cardiac nurse I promise na pag-uwi ko talaga magtuturo ng CPR," said Emma Lapena of the Philippine Nurses Association in NJ.
According to the Philippine Heart Association, 80% of cardiac deaths happen at home but most of the time, relatives do not know how to administer basic CPR in emergency situations and only 4 to six percent of these victims survive because witnesses-- just like what happened to Lapena's niece – are not trained with such life saving techniques.
Lapena said that is why the PNA-NJ holds fundraisers to train Filipinos on how to administer CPR in times of emergency.
"Sa Pilipinas, ang laki ng bayad para sila makapag-join ng CPR class. So yung ginawa ako, it’s free and that was 270 people. We started with nurses sa Department of Health and healthcare workers. Nung natapos yun on the third day, yung mga nurse na yun they were the ones who taught nung mga barangay tanod, first responders," she said.
A CPR-eady Philippines campaign is underway where Philippine representative Yeng Guiao from Pampanga filed the "Samboy Lim Bill".
The retired basketball player collapsed during an exhibition game and fell into coma since no one among the people in the gym knew CPR.
If passed, the Samboy Lim Bill will require schools to incorporate basic CPR into the Philippine education system.
The Philippine Heart Association is hoping this bill may be passed and enacted soon.
Advocates believe that CPR, when institutionalized in the Philippines, could save more lives.