By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) — When someone collapses in public, bystanders are often afraid to perform CPR even though it could save their life. Now researchers at the University of Florida have discovered why.

If someone is in cardiac arrest, CPR is vitally important. In fact, survival decreases about 10% for every minute CPR is delayed. But according to a new study, the most common reason bystanders give for not starting CPR is fear about causing additional injuries.

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They also worry their skills are inadequate, and many are reluctant to remove a female victim’s shirt, even though a choking person’s shirt does not need to be removed to perform CPR.

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In fact, women are 27% less likely than men to receive bystander CPR. But a company has created Womanikin, a CPR dummy which comes with detachable fabric breasts so people can practice giving CPR to a woman.

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That said, even when in doubt, you can’t go wrong by attempting CPR.

Dr. Mallika Marshall