"This was not a study of family presence versus non-family presence," Downar said. "Family presence during some part of the arrest or resuscitation was almost universal. Some of the family members in the control group were even performing CPR [before rescuers arrived]. I don't know that we can look at this data and conclude that family presence makes it better. But the intervention included other things, such as an identified support person, who may have caused the improved outcomes."
Borron said further research on the subject is necessary -- preferably studies that focus on family-witnessed CPR in the United States, both at home and in the hospital.
"I think we have to be cautious in extrapolating the results of this study from France to the U.S., in that their [emergency medical system] is very different from ours," Borron said. "But I think many physicians may be willing to examine their thought process on this."
The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers more on CPR.
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