Always on call.
As an archipelago with more than 7,000 islands, Philippines is endowed with wonders of nature that make it one of the world’s fastest growing travel destinations. But in relation to the country’s tropical climate, swimming the beach is the ultimate escapade—especially for foreign tourists.
But having a dose of vitamin sea is not all fun and exciting. The scent of salt in the air usually expunges the smell of danger, but beware: the risks of being in open water go far beyond getting sun-kissed and sunburnt.
At around 5 p.m. on March 11, 2019, a foreign tourist in Boracay almost drowned to death when he accidentally hit his head on the edge of his paddle board as he jumped from the board to the water. On a Facebook post of JP Liwag Kabigting—who, along with his companions, rushed the tourist to the shore—no lifeguard was nearby at that moment.
A video has also been uploaded by Kabigting. Amidst the commotion, two people are seen performing the cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. In the latter part of the video, the tourist is believed to have been revived.
Days after, a local broadcasting network has reported the incident. As of writing, the video report has garnered 6.5 million views.
The life saviours have been identified as Louisa Jasmin Jenkins and Justine Navarra, 28 and 26 years old, respectively. The two are a couple, who both graduated with a degree on Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Perpetual Help College of Manila.
An encounter with near-death experience
“We were in Boracay for vacation,” Navarra tells MBody, “then we noticed that a man was being carried from the water to the shore close to where we were.”
The couple hurried to the scene and assessed how severe the case was: the man was unresponsive, hardly breathing, very pale, and his lips were turning gray.
Instinctively, Jenkins, who became a registered nurse in 2013, initiated the CPR. “When someone’s life is on your hands, time is of the essence. I had to compose myself despite the pressure so I could focus on doing the procedure the right way,” she says.
CPR is a lifesaving technique that combines chest compressions and sometimes artificial ventilation to pump oxygenated blood to the brain and the heart. This delays tissue death, brain damage, or worse, death.
The CPR was done interchangeably by Jenkins and Navarra, who, interestingly, did the procedure for the first time outside a medical facility. About three minutes after, Navarra narrates, the man showed signs of life again. Lifeguards arrived and took over since then.
The procedure is indubitably one of the best approaches and precautions for drowning victims. And drowning should not be taken lightly. According to World Health Organization, drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional death, and an estimated 360,000 people die from it annually worldwide.
Philippines’ Department of Health, as reported by Manila Bulletin, affirms the data and warns that drowning incidents know no age and can claim the life of anybody.
Call of duty
In light of their experience, Jenkins and Navarra encourage other people to go through a formal training on the CPR procedure. With or without professional medical background, the basics of CPR can be learned.
“Incidents that require CPR procedure can happen anywhere, knowing how to perform it saves lives,” tells Jenkins.
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