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Health experts teach lawmakers how to do CPR

Dr. Janette McVey demonstrates how to dislodge a foreign object from a child’s throat. She and other health care professionals provided information and demonstrations Thursday in the Capitol to Missouri legislators and staffers wanting to learn basic lifesaving techniques. McVey is an anesthesiologist with the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics.

Dr. Janette McVey demonstrates how to dislodge a foreign object from a child’s throat. She and other health care professionals provided information and demonstrations Thursday in the Capitol to Missouri legislators and staffers wanting to learn basic lifesaving techniques. McVey is an anesthesiologist with the University of Missouri Hospital and Clinics. Photo by Julie Smith.

Missouri is only the third state in the nation to teach its legislators lifesaving methods, especially CPR.

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From front, Missouri legislators Wanda Brown and Brent Lasater and Capitol staffers Amy Niedergerke, Robin Butler and Crissy Wilson participated in training Thursday morning to learn basic lifesaving techniques. Katie Connolly of the American Heart Association and Dr. Lydia Conlay with the Missouri Association of Anesthesiologists delivered the presentation and demonstrations.

The movement began in Texas after a lawmaker and anesthesiologist had to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to revive a fellow lawmaker, said Dr. Lydia Conlay, an anesthesiologist with the University of Missouri.

Following that event, Texas — followed by Oklahoma and now Missouri — began teaching state leaders lifesaving methods like CPR.

“We must teach our leaders how to do this,” Conlay said in front of a group of lawmakers who went to learn CPR, AED use and the Heimlich maneuver. “What better place to start than with our leaders?”

Conlay and others had several instructional sessions planned to teach lawmakers and other Capitol staff about the methods.

Knowing CPR allows a person to spring into action and possibly help save a person’s life. That is why Rep. Brent Lasater, R-Independence, attended the first training event of the day.

“I do not want to just be standing around if something happens,” he said. “I want to be able to help out.”

At the end of the hour-long event, Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, spoke of provisions he has attached to two education bills that would require CPR to be taught as a high school graduation requirement by the 2014-15 school year.

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