As a swim team member at Travis High School, Rajit Gulhati wanted to know more about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); how and why it saves lives.
After getting certified in Basic Life Support, the soon-to-be Eagle Scout learned more about an important lesson in CPR: Someone who is having a medical emergency has a much higher survival rate if someone else knows basic life saving skills. He also was familiar with a tragic accident that happened during a swim meet at Don Cook Natatorium in Sugar Land several years ago.
“There was a swimmer there from Clements High School, Brian Yuen. He was at a meet and he stumbled out of the pool and collapsed,” he said.
Yuen was taken to a local hospital, where he later died.
“I became committed to this idea of saving lives after the unfortunate death of this young swimmer during one of our swim meets,” he said.
While Rajit was not at the meet that day, he did decide on making CPR the focus of his upcoming Eagle Scout project.
Rajit began his Eagle project by first having CPR certification completed for his own swim team at Travis High School by presenting a first aid kit, and creating a video demonstrating basic CPR techniques for future classes.
“Thanks to the support of my swim coach, Ms. Christine Marsh, Scoutmaster Scott Bauer, Assistant Principal Damien Bassett, and Ms. Susan Carrizal of the American Heart Association, we were able to certify 30 students at our school, including many members of the swim team.”
His impact on more students has just begun.
According to Marsh, Rajit’s swimming and diving coach, he has always been actively involved in Scouting and in school activities in general.
“He brought up his idea last school year about providing CPR training and first aid materials for the team and/or the training pool,” she said. “He raised all the funds for the CPR certified instructor, held the training in the school library on a Saturday, and has made the team its own personal first aid kit for the pool. He is even taking the project a little further by adding AED (Automated External Defibrillator) training, which he is currently working on now.”
It took a couple of steps to get approval for his CPR/Eagle Scout project, including talks with his troop committee, his high school, and approval from the Boy Scouts of America. Other qualifications were that he lead a team of two or more other Scouts on his project, in addition to creating a project which would make a difference. This last step, said Rajit, is the most important.
“If I could teach each student CPR, I could leave a lasting impact,” he said.
When not involved in the Boy Scouts, the busy student is part of the Global Studies Academy at Travis High School, a member of Model UN, and the Spanish National Honor Society.
Rajit hopes to take his idea further by conducting a survey for other schools in the Fort Bend Independent School District. One of the things brought up in training, he pointed out, is how important it is to understand the AED. He also hopes to present his video demonstrating basic CPR techniques to area schools.
“To help with lifesaving skills by having this video shown to all athletic teams throughout the district and taking a survey of teachers with the objective of finding out who knows the location of the AED,” Rajit said.