I got CPR certified this week. I was actually really whiny about going, but it turned out to be empowering. I left the class feeling I had gained a skill that actually had a real-world application, unlike most of the hobbies I like to pursue (like learning a rudimentary level of Chinese--I can say my birthday and how many brothers and sisters I have. Useful for survival, right?).
When I got home I decided to find out how effective CPR actually is. According to a reliable source (ahem--wikipedia), CPR is effective between 5-10% of the time, and VERY rarely restarts the heart without subsequent defibrilation (which I also learned how to do. Interesting factoid: the pads used for defibrilation need to be attached to bare skin, so most kits contain a razor blade in case you need to shave a hairy guy!). I was surprised to see that the survival rate was so low, as I definitely had the impression that CPR, when performed promptly and correctly, would give the victim a pretty good shot. It turns out (per the same wikipedia article) that T.V. portrays CPR as successful approximately 75% of the time. Interesting, no? So I have upgraded my level of knowledge of CPR from T.V. sources to wikipedia. I have to say that my false impression was also reinforced by the scenarios taught in the class. I guess it would be kind of a downer to teach you a skill and then have the example guy die.