A new study conducted by a team of Dutch researchers has found that women are more likely to die if they suffer from heart attacks in public places. As per the research report, men are more likely to receive CPR during life-threatening events like heart attack, while women are less likely to receive this initial life-saving first aid.
During the study, researchers found that 73 percent of men received CPR from a bystander during the time of a heart attack, but only 68 percent of women did. The study report suggested that this hesitance to give first aid may be mainly due to the fear to touch a woman's chest during the time of heart attack, as many people may see it as an act of sexual harassment.
Researchers revealed that people are less likely to realize the seriousness of a woman's condition, and as a result, people may delay the initial first aid thinking that the victim might not be needing serious medical help. This factor may also result in delays in calling emergency services, thus reducing the survival chances of female patients.
"Given the short window available to save the life of the patient, every minute in this early phase counts. Help, if only a call to the emergency number by a layperson, is crucial," said Hanno Tan of the University of Amsterdam and lead author of the study. Not many people are aware that cardiac arrest can occur as often in women as in men, and the women themselves may not recognize the urgency of their symptoms, he noted.
"Women may have symptoms of an impending heart attack that are less easy to interpret, such as fatigue, fainting, vomiting, and neck or jaw pain," said Hanno Tan.
The British Heart Foundation said the finding that women were seven percent less likely to receive initial life-saving aid including CPR is quite worrying.
Dr Sarah Perman, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine revealed that over-sexualization of the female body is undoubtedly the main reason why women are not getting CPR when they suffer a heart attack in public places.
As per Sarah Perman, people often "feel hesitant to provide CPR if there is a notion they are doing something incorrect that was perceived to be sexual assault or harassment," Daily Mail reports.