In my opinion emergency life-saving medical techniques such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the Heimlich maneuver should be taught in today’s colleges and universities as a required course. Such a curriculum could only benefit the general populace by increasing awareness and knowledge of how to save lives. With more and more students graduating every year, a large percentage of adults would be familiar with these simple techniques over time. Ideally, this class would be an elective; so that the credit hours required to obtain degrees would not change.
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States. And statistics shows that the sooner help arrives, the better the victim recovers, and such person will have greater chances of survival. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is the next best thing to an ambulance with a defibrillator. Such a class could also train in how best to converse with a 9-1-1 operator in case of an emergency, or even provide better numbers to call (local area emergency rooms, for instance).
Elderly people and/or those who live alone could sleep a little easier, knowing their neighbor is CPR certified, knows the Heimlich, and more. Moreover, family members of these students would benefit from their knowledge.
Choking deaths though are not as common as heart attacks, and it is easy to prevent them as long as a person uses the right methods. The Heimlich maneuver is a simple and effective method that works in most cases to prevent asphyxiation by objects (usually food) lodged in the esophagus. It works by applying thrusts to the abdomen to use the air that is already in the lungs to force the object out. Developed largely by Henry Heimlich in the early 20th century, it was intended to put an end to most choking deaths. However, the education is the key and we should be aware about this.