Alyssa Milano Urges People to Get CPR-Certified After ‘Terrifying’ Car Crash With Uncle
Alyssa Milano spoke out about a tragic car accident she and her uncle got into this week, when her uncle suffered a heart attack at the wheel. In a statement posted to Instagram and Twitter, Milano shared details about the crash, as well as an impassioned plea for people to get trained in giving potentially lifesaving CPR.
“Yesterday, my family suffered a terrifying and traumatic event,” the actor wrote. “I was a passenger in a car my Uncle Mitch was driving when he suffered a serious heart attack, resulting in a car crash,” explained Milano, who has not said whether she sustained any injuries herself.
The activist shared that she does not know yet if Mitch, an integral part of her and her children’s lives, will make a recovery from the heart attack and accident. “He’s still in the hospital, and we are unsure if he will recover,” she wrote. “Uncle Mitch is such an important part of our family. He’s with us every day, spending time with my children and present in every meaningful part of our lives.”
Milano also used her statement as an opportunity to make a PSA about the value of getting trained and certified in CPR. “Please, take this as your inspiration to get CPR certified,” Milano wrote. “You don’t know when you’ll be called upon to save a life. It’s such a small effort and can have a huge impact.” Milano didn’t specify whether she performed CPR on her uncle.
The actor also expressed immense gratitude for everyone who has provided assistance in the aftermath, from strangers that stopped at the scene of the accident to help to health care workers at the hospital where she and her uncle were taken. “I am grateful to the people who stopped to help us. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for the care and attention they, along with the first responders, doctors, nurses, and staff at UCLA Medical Center paid to him and to me,” Milano wrote. Milano also requested that the public and the media give her uncle and family “the kindness of privacy as we move through this incredibly painful time.”
Being properly trained in CPR can indeed save lives. CPR (short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is an emergency procedure performed on an unconscious person whose breathing or heartbeat has stopped due to a medical event like sudden cardiac arrest, electric shock, or drowning, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The technique uses manual chest compressions to help maintain the circulation of oxygen-rich blood until the person’s heartbeat and respiration return (as well as, sometimes, mouth-to-mouth respiration of oxygen into another person’s lungs—more on that in a minute).
CPR is crucial because it may help prevent death or brain damage that can happen within minutes of blood flow stoppage, says the U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Within five minutes, brain cells begin to die. Within 10 minutes, the chance of survival is virtually zero,” Holly Andersen, M.D., attending cardiologist and director of education and outreach at the Ronald O. Perlman Heart Institute at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, previously told SELF. Immediate CPR can help keep the person’s heart beating and lungs breathing until medical first responders can get to the scene. “Every minute without CPR, the chance of survival decreases by 10 percent,” Dr. Andersen said. That’s why having a bystander on the scene who knows how to do CPR can be lifesaving.
Correct training in the technique is key, however. Many people improperly believe that CPR should alway include mouth-to-mouth, when it’s actually the chest compressions that are most vital, as SELF has explained. In fact, mouth-to-mouth breathing is often unnecessary because there is typically enough oxygen in a person’s bloodstream to be circulated via chest compressions alone, according to Dr. Andersen.
The basic technique for hands-only CPR is performing two compressions on the chest, each at least two inches deep, every second. While most everyone can likely do hands-only CPR properly, rescue breathing is often performed incorrectly and best performed by trained individuals, as SELF reported.
While CPR certification is not necessary for someone to do simple hands-on CPR the right way (as Dr. Andersen noted), classes can help people learn how to properly perform both aspects of the procedure—as well as make them feel more confident about stepping up in an emergency situation. (Plus, the best CPR techniques are a little different for infants and children, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.)
If you’re interested in CPR training and certification, look up health providers and first responder groups in your area. “The American Red Cross and many hospitals and other organizations offer regular classes,” as Milano notes. The American Red Cross and American Heart Association search engines can help you find online and in-person training near you.
- Alyssa Milano Experienced Hair Loss After COVID-19—And She’s Not the Only One
- Here’s Why Heart Attack Symptoms Can Be So Hard to Spot in Women
- Ashley Judd Shared an Uplifting Health Update 5 Months After Shattering Her Leg