Dr Jade Kua wants to empower each of us with enough knowledge and confidence to respond to cardiac victims in need. suhana ab finds out more
late last year when Dr Jade Kua was on maternity leave, she didn’t think twice to respond to an urgent call of help during the dead of night. A man had suffered a bad accident at the foot of her building and needed to be resuscitated immediately. But even as an experienced doctor, the 37-year-old found the situation intimidating.
“It is different when you are in a hospital setting. There are bright lights, you are already in scrubs and there are nurses assisting you,” she explains.
But for the programme director of the Dare (Dispatcher Assisted First Responder) Programme — an initiative that educates members of the public to perform life-saving aid — the experience was invaluable. It put her squarely in the shoes of the average person on the street who may find themselves in the position where they have to act as a first responder. “I then understood better how frightening it must be for them,” says Kua.
As it is very often fear that stops a bystander from assisting in a medical emergency, Kua believes it is imperative for initiatives such as Dare to ramp up public engagement.
“When a person collapses from cardiac arrest, the person right next to him can be the first responder who tries to resuscitate the victim as early as possible,” she says. According to Kua, who is a consultant at the department of emergency medicine at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, studies show that a cardiac victim’s chances of survival reduces by 10 percent for every minute delay in applying CPR.
Introduced three years ago, the Dare Programme was initially conceived to reach out to youths between 11 and 17, but has since begun providing skills training to adult members of the community. “Eventually, the programme hopes to train at least one person in every household in Singapore, regardless of their background, to dare to do it,” she says.
While it is no easy task, Kua is optimistic that the Dare team — composed of members of the Singapore Civil Defence Force, doctors and nurses — will make a lasting positive impact. One initiative is its my-responder app, which alerts volunteers to nearby cardiac arrest cases so as to render first aid before ambulance arrival.
“Any kind of CPR is better than none. One more person who would dare to do it is better than one less. We are hopeful about making a difference,” she reiterates. It is possible for… anyone to have it all, especially women, as we seem to be pretty good at multitasking even if we don’t realise it ourselves. Women are just better at it than the men. I am fortunate… to be working with good teams at work and at Dare. At home, my parents, parents-inlaw and my domestic helpers do a fantastic job at helping me care for my six kids: Martin, Mariesa, Mariena, Mark, Marion and Marcel. I am blessed… with a supportive husband, who takes charge of the kitchen. I don’t think I can do what I do without a well-fed stomach! I am proudest of… how we have raised our kids to be kind. We should empower children to… understand that they should be brave and trust them to be sensible; that’s the only way they will venture out of their comfort zone to help others in need. When someone calls out “mummy”… I turn instinctively to see if a child is injured and needs help. Quality time versus quantity… is the essence of multitasking. Success is… not a destination; it’s the continual fulfillment you find in your job, your kids on a regular school day and your life partner on a non-occasion day.
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