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VA Employee Aces Job Interview with Hands-only CPR

two snapshots of Katherine Beck

Ever saved a life using CPR? How about twice in one week?

Nobody wants to experience receiving or needing CPR to stay alive, but if so, you want Kati Beck by your side. In 2013, prior to being a VA employee, she saved two lives in less than a week using hands-only CPR.

Thanks to 12 years in the Air Force and constant training, Beck sprang into action during a job interview when one of the panelists passed out and stopped breathing.

“All of that time in the military, I never used it,” Beck shared. “You train until it’s an instant reflex. Even though I had been out of the military, as soon as it happened, I immediately started CPR and sent others to check her purse for medications and to call 911.”

Hands-only CPR can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival. Compressions are good for the first few minutes to push the remaining oxygen through the body to keep vital organs alive. It also buys time until someone with more skills can respond.

And that’s exactly what Beck did, both saving a life and allowing medics to step in from there.

Oh, and she got the job.

Much of that situation scoffs at statistics. Although heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the U.S., women receive bystander CPR less often. According to the American Heart Association, bystanders are less likely to help a female experiencing cardiac arrest out of fear of inappropriate touching, causing physical injury, performing CPR incorrectly or the misconception that women are less likely to have heart problems.

Beck knows better, and it’s a good thing. Despite being surrounded by a room full of strangers, her reaction and CPR knowledge was the difference between life and death.

A few days later, she put her lifesaving skills to work again. This time, a female colleague had a heart attack when Beck jumped into action again, providing hands-only CPR and keeping her alive until medics arrived.

Hands-only CPR doesn’t require formal training and only takes a few minutes to learn.

Beck’s advice is simple, “Get trained and train on it frequently.”


Learn hands-only CPR in less than two minutes by watching this video:

Learn more about CPR or becoming CPR-certified (using breaths) visit the American Heart Association’s CPR training page:

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