The Washington Post

Afghanistan watchdog saves pal with CPR, vows to spread the word about getting certified

Even Afghan national police learn CPR. (Rahmat/AFP/Getty Images)

As Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John Sopko’s day job is to keep watch on waste, fraud, and abuse. Sopko recently won kudos from a team of EMTs when he performed CPR on a friend suffering cardiac arrest — and kept the man alive until the professionals arrived.

After dinner at his Bethesda home, Sopko watched as his guest slumped over, apparently suffering a heart attack. He began CPR, and when the ambulance from the Glen Echo Fire Department arrived moments later, his friend’s heart was still beating.

The EMTs took over, and now that his pal is recovering, Sopko — and the volunteers at the Glen Echo FD — are trying to spread the word about the importance of CPR. It’s unusual, the medics note, to have someone on hand who’s skilled at CPR, though it doubles or triples the likelihood that a victim will survive. They’re urging folks in the area who want to get training to visit their Web site or the American Heart Association’s.

Sopko, who got certified in the technique when he worked at the Commerce Department, says he plans to make sure his staff at the SIGAR (see, we can’t resist the acronyms) are CPR-certified.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.

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