Last Saturday, Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapsed during the European Championship match against Finland. Thanks to quick intervention, he was successfully resuscitated. Since then, people have signed up en masse for CPR courses. The Red Cross started a course via Instagram.
Bernard Leenstra, doctor and founder of Schok & Pomp also saw the number of registrations for resuscitation courses rise. A few years ago, he was standing along the line on the football field when a youth player became unwell. Shock & Pump was still in its infancy. “I couldn’t believe that happened then. It was very intense to experience, but at the same time it motivated me so much to continue.”
In the meantime 52 doctors who have worked in the Emergency Department have joined Schok & Pomp. They teach sports clubs and high school students in three hours how to act in a life-saving way. Leenstra decided to set up Schok & Pomp because as a medical assistant he saw surgery too often in patients who would have suffered less damage if someone with medical knowledge had been around. “That frustration was the reason for founding Schok & Pomp.”
The difference between life and death
According to Leenstra, we can learn a lot from Germany and Scandinavian countries when it comes to learning to resuscitate. “It is much better organized there, for example, it is mandatory in education to offer CPR courses and you can only get your driver’s license in Germany if you have completed a first aid course. In the Netherlands, none of this is mandatory yet.”
After successfully resuscitating the 12-year-old boy on the football field, Schok & Pomp became more of a political mission for Leenstra. “After a course of just three hours, you can mean the difference between life and death. I find it incomprehensible that this is no longer being done.”
Leenstra started a citizens’ initiative with the aim of making first aid part of the teaching package in secondary schools. The proposal was discussed in the House of Representatives in April, and although the proposal was received enthusiastically by several MPs, Education Minister Slob is not in favor of compulsory first aid lessons in the curriculum.
CPR course through health insurance
This does not alter the fact that you can easily participate in a CPR course yourself. “Health insurers offer reimbursements for different types of courses that you can do, such as first aid and CPR,” says Mirjam Prins of Independer. This does concern the additional health insurance, explains Prins.
Do you want to follow a first aid course or CPR training? Bee independer you can check whether your health insurer reimburses the costs (partially) from an additional health insurance policy.
The majority of people have taken out additional health insurance, says Prins. “Still, I think that many people are not aware that their supplementary insurance may provide partial coverage. There are several options besides a CPR or First Aid course. For example, when I became a mother, I decided to increase my additional cover so that I also received compensation that I could use for a first aid course for young children.”
The government makes a decision when it comes to necessary care
The fact that learning to resuscitate is not standardly reimbursed from the basic package is a political choice. “That costs money that the population then has to cough up in the form of a premium or tax,” says Prins. “In that regard, the government always makes a decision when it comes to necessary care and has opted for a more preventive approach in the form of more attention to more exercise and healthy eating. In that case, a heart attack is actually too late.”
Do it now!
But a heart attack or other medical emergency is not always preventable. Christian Eriksen is young, healthy and sporty. “If his fellow players had not acted so quickly and the team doctor with the AED (an automatic external defibrillator or heart starter) had not been present so quickly, it could have been much worse for him,” says Leenstra. “Let’s learn from this. Why not use one training per year to teach football players how to resuscitate?”
Although many people may not have known that their health insurance can offer a helping hand in this, Prins says he understands some reluctance among people. “You learn to deal with an emergency situation in which you have an influence on life and death. That can be very confronting.” Yet Leenstra cannot emphasize the importance of life-saving actions enough. ,,I can shout from the rooftops: do it now. It only benefits you if it is necessary, but once you experience it once, you only realize how incredibly important that course has been.”
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