AED Petition Now Mentor Alison Ellison: THANKS!!!

Hi all, I just wanted to send one more save story for the week.  The survivor was not a student, but it was a school nurse (among others) who saved him.  See story below…I hope you all have a great weekend!  Alison

I am a Forsyth County School Nurse that happened to be at the right place at the right time Monday, August 29, 2011. I play on a coed softball team for my church at Al Bishop Park in Marietta, Ga and Monday night before our game the unexpected happened. I had arrived to the park and was walking towards the fields  when a player fell to the ground running for a fly ball. I walk pass the field and see other players gather around the player and start calling out for help. I (literally) climb over the fence and start running towards the crowd gathering in the outfield. The player that had fell to the ground was a 41 year old male with a family history of heart attacks. Amidst the crowd of people and chaos, I knelt to the ground, checked for a pulse, and could not find a pulse. I pull up the man’s shirt and start giving compressions, while my Dad, a former EMT, gave breaths. After the second set of compressions, someone had walked up with the AED from the concession stand at the park. With the help of my sister, we open up the AED, I place the pads on the man’s chest. After the AED analyzed the heart rhythm it started blinking “shock advised”. After yelling for everyone to stand back, I press the button on the AED  and the shock was successfully administered. An EMT that had been in the crowd started doing compressions again and about that that time the EMS arrived and we had found a pulse. Thankfully, this story has a good ending. The EMS stabilized him, rushed him to Cobb General Hospital where he was admitted to the ICU. I later learned that he had a heart cath and three blockages were found and that he will be transferred to Kennestone Hospital with possible options of heart surgery.

All I kept thinking after it was all said and done was how thankful I was the ballpark had an AED and that the man had survived!!
(The amazing thing is that this is the second save by a school staff member at this county park in the last 3 years!  The last rescuer was a music teacher who had learned CPR/AED at his school.  He is now an instructor at his own school and in the community.)

Alison Ellison BSN, NCSN
Project S.A.V.E. Coordinator
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
404-785-7201

Congratulations Alabama! Roll AED Tide!

Every Alabama public high and middle school now has defibrillatorsPublished: Thursday, August 11, 2011, 6:20 AMStan Diel — The Birmingham News By Stan Diel — The Birmingham News BIRMINGHAM, Alabama —

After three years of fundraising and effort, the nonprofit Alabama LifeStart has succeeded in placing an automated defibrillator in every public high school, middle school and junior high in the state that lacked one, officials said this week. Now the work begins, said the manager and doctor behind the effort. The last of 120 schools to get one of the devices from the organization, Carver Magnet School in Dothan, took delivery of its defibrillator Wednesday, said Dr. Yung Lau, a professor and associate director of the Alabama Congenital Heart Disease Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Now Alabama LifeStart, a joint venture of UAB and Children’s of Alabama, will shift its focus to getting a second unit for bigger schools and to making sure schools maintain the devices and keep staff trained to use them. Teachers, coaches and administrators must be re-certified through American Heart Association or American Red Cross training every two years, and the devices periodically require new batteries and replacement parts. The automated external defibrillators deliver an electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm, and have been credited with saving the lives of four children and an undetermined number of adults in metro Birmingham in recent years. Three of those children were saved within six months in 2004 and 2005, converting Lau from a skeptic into a believer. “All of a sudden it became obvious this was a life-saving thing,” Lau said. “I’m convinced every one of those kids would have died” if AEDs hadn’t been present in their schools. The effort to get AEDs in schools in Alabama can be traced back to 2000, when Britain’s Lord Piers Wedgwood was visiting Birmingham on behalf of his family’s famed china business. After surviving a heart attack while in Birmingham, Wedgwood teamed up with friend Frank Bromberg III of Bromberg’s jewelry to get hundreds of the devices placed in schools and public places across the Southeast. In 2007, Alabama LifeStart conducted a survey that found many Alabama schools — particularly in the impoverished Black Belt — still didn’t have the devices, and set out to close the gap. With the help of the Lord Wedgwood Charity and corporate donors including Alabama Power Co. and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, the organization raised enough money to cover the expense of the machines, which can cost between $1,000 and $3,000 each. Cris Brown, who helps manage the program, said the organization hopes to enlist the assistance of parents and parent-teacher associations to make sure school officials maintain the devices and get re-certified to use them. Nationally, that’s been a problem. A 2005 study published by the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine and a small study in Iowa found that schools often don’t budget money to maintain the devices, and they fall into disrepair. Parent associations in some schools have taken it upon themselves to be responsible for maintenance, and more will be urged to do the same, Brown said. “It’s such an easy thing to help remedy,” Brown said. The devices themselves, about the size of a small tablet computer, are easy to use, said Brown and Barbara Mostella, a UAB nurse who works with the program. Wired pads run from the device to the patient’s chest and deliver the shock. The machine’s computer diagnoses the problem and walks the user through the necessary steps. “It talks to you,” Brown said. “If you don’t do the step it tells you to, it will repeat it until you do.” Alabama LifeStart is an affiliate of Project ADAM, founded at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in 1999 after a series of deaths of student athletes. Join the conversation, add a comment or email: sdiel@bhamnews.com.  Martha Lopez-AndersonChair, Board of Directorstel: 800-717-5828 ext. 3  |  fax: 888-669-4924  cel: 407-399-1039

ANOTHER PERFECT SAVE! CONGRATULATIONS NY!

Another save in NY!! J-D lacrosse player revived after being struck by ball at tryoutPublished: Thursday, June 16, 2011, 8:00 AM     Updated: Thursday, June 16, 2011, 8:40 AMBy Donnie Webb / The Post-Standard The Post-Standard

A Jamesville-DeWitt High School lacrosse player was revived with CPR and a defibrillator after he was struck in the chest by a shot from another player on Wednesday. The incident occurred at Fayetteville-Manlius High School during tryouts for a Section III team that will participate in a July event called the Upstate Risings. Sophomore Dan Cochran, a member of the J-D junior varsity this past season, was in stable condition Wednesday night at University Hospital, according to a nursing supervisor. Red Rams head coach Jamie Archer, whose team just won the Class B state lacrosse championship, said Cochran was joking around “like it never happened” when he called the hospital to check on his player. “A big sigh of relief,” Archer said. “He’ll probably never know how close it came to a different outcome.” Rome Free Academy lacrosse coaches Guy Calandra and Jeremy Roberts were running the tryouts for about 50 10th-graders, including Cochran, when the incident happened at about 6:30 p.m. Calandra said he was about five feet away when he saw Cochran take the blow from the shot. Cochran turned his body in anticipation of the contact. The lacrosse ball struck him in the rib cage underneath his chest protector. Calandra said Cochran fell face forward to the ground. “When I got to look at him, I could just tell,” Calandra said. “I said to him, ‘Hey, are you OK? Look at me. What’s your name?’ He couldn’t respond. I yelled for 911 and Jeremy.” Cochran’s breathing was labored. Roberts was at the opposite end of the field working with other players. The second time Calandra called his name, Roberts said he knew there was a crisis. He sprinted to the other end of the field to begin CPR on Cochran.Roberts, 36, has worked as a lifeguard since he was 16 and been a certified trainer for the last five years. Calandra is trained in CPR as well. Calandra began a series of 30 compression pumps on Cochran’s chest. Roberts performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The mother of another player trying out for the 11th-grade team approached the scene. She said she was a registered nurse and asked Calandra if he needed her to take over. She did and performed a series of compression pumps. Fayetteville-Manlius High School certified trainer Cyndi Kelder rushed to the scene with a defibrillator. Even though this was not a school event, she had been hired to work the tryouts by Tom Hall, the longtime F-M lacrosse patriarch and the founder of the Upstate Risings event. Kelder said Cochran had no pulse when she hooked him up to the defibrillator. The machine told her what to do next — apply the pads and shock the player. She did. The blast got Cochran’s heart pumping in rhythm again. “I’ve been doing this awhile now,” said Kelder. “I’ve never had to open up (the defibrillator) other than checking it and for maintenance. It was one of those moments.” Sirens from local ambulances and fire trucks wailed in the distance. Multiple rescue trucks pulled onto the field. Roberts kept yelling encouragement to Cochran. “Hang in there, buddy,” he said. “Hang in there.” Cochran was beginning to respond. Calandra asked him how he felt. He told the coach his arm was sore. It was a sweet response. The magnitude of their efforts hit hard later in the night. Calandra said he could barely talk, much less feel. Roberts said he hugged his wife, Becky, and broke into tears. The nurse who assisted on the field broke into tears when she saw her son after tryouts. She said it all hit home. That could have been her son, she said. F-M boys lacrosse coach Chris Kenneally said he was witness to a tragedy at Hobart some 30 years ago when a player died on the field after being struck in the chest by a shot. He vowed that would never happen again and said the school is vigilant and ready with its supply of defibrillators and trainers. Hall said had this happened at the Empire State Games, there would have been no trainers or defibrillators because of cost cuts. “We prepare for this type of thing,” Hall said. “I was so impressed with the (RFA) staff and (F-M) trainer. I’ve seen some serious situations over the years. This has to be at the top of the list.” “Even though we’re all trained, it was nice to have more hands,” Calandra said. “It went well. It could have been horrible. “I hope I don’t ever have to do it again, I’ll tell you that.”

“DON’T HESITATE” TAMING A KILLER

Arizona LivingTaming a killer: Sudden cardiac arrest in kidsby Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen – Jun. 12, 2011 12:00 AM

You’ve seen the shocking news stories of young athletes collapsing and dying of sudden cardiac arrest: the 14-year-old Wisconsin runner, the Michigan high-school basketball whiz who had just sunk the winning shot, the star quarterback at a Texas high school. These no-warning cardiac collapses are the single largest cause of death among young competitive athletes. The real story is, it doesn’t have to be. A string of positive research combined with news of kids who’ve survived sudden cardiac arrest means this troubling killer could soon be tamed. Meanwhile, we hope you parents and grandparents out there saw reports about the swift steps that can restart struggling young hearts – like the Minnesota dad who ran onto the soccer field when his 12-year-old son collapsed, started CPR, then used a portable defibrillator to kick-start the heart into beating normally. He saved his son’s life. It’s not just an issue for kids who play sports. Although sudden cardiac arrest is five times more common among college athletes than once believed, and just one in 10 survives, what’s most often behind SCA is an enlarged heart – specifically, a common inherited defect called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Although months of strenuous exercise will make any athlete’s heart muscle bigger, that’s normal and nothing to worry about – unless the kid also has HCM. The combo can block blood flow from the heart, which puts young athletes at much higher risk than non-athletes with HCM. Add a hard workout or dehydration, and the danger’s even greater. In summer, be alert for dehydration and heat exhaustion. Tell kids to follow the coach’s advice and drink plenty of water. Dehydration is risky for anyone with an enlarged heart, because it interferes with the ticker’s main pumping area, the left ventricle. Getting parched makes blood-flow problems worse, leading to fainting, shortness of breath or something way more serious. What can you do? – Raise $1,500 for your school. That’s what it costs to buy and donate an automated external defibrillator. High schools that have an AED and people trained to use it save the lives of 64 percent of people with sudden heart problems. – Spot trouble before it starts. Heart-screening tests could prevent 90 percent of SCA. Two hot-off-the-presses studies prove it. In one, 964 college athletes got physicals that included echocardiograms and electrocardiograms. They found seven students with serious heart conditions. Another study of 50,665 Chicago-area teens uncovered 1,096 kids with heart irregularities. The tests aren’t cheap. Screening all of America’s athletes could top $2 billion a year. If your community offers free or low-cost screenings, take advantage of them! More importantly, look for risk factors in your kids, and know what to do: – Know the signals. Some key red flags: Fainting or seizures after physical activity; episodes of chest pain, racing heartbeats or unusual shortness of breath, fatigue or tiredness; dizziness during or after exercise; a family history of heart disease or an unexplained death after physical activity. – Get some power behind you. About 15 states encourage or require AEDs in schools. A volunteer group of parents who’ve lost kids to SAC or whose own lives have been saved by a defibrillator are leading the charge. Find out more at parentheartwatch.org. – Know what to do if a kid collapses. Act fast. If a kid’s losing consciousness and gasping for breath, call 911 or get someone else to. Then immediately start CPR; survival odds drop 10 percent for every minute without it. Meanwhile, send someone for a defibrillator……. Don’t hesitate.

Mehmet Oz is a heart surgeon.

If You Don’t Think Sudden Cardiac Arrest Can Happen To You…

Hermitage student saved by school staff, AEDBy Luz Lazo Published: June 11, 2011

Kathryn Hardy had just entered Hermitage High School on Tuesday morning when she collapsed. Her heart stopped beating. She was facedown in the stairway of the school’s gymnasium, her book bag still on her back, when physical education teacher Nancy M. Steiner arrived, responding to students’ calls for help. Steiner called for help through her two-way radio. In seconds, nurses Sandra M. Ruder and Catherine T. Brawley were assisting Hardy, who was revived with the help of an automated external defibrillator. The 19-year-old Henrico County junior, with no history of heart disease, had suffered a cardiac arrest at about 8:40 a.m. as students were heading to their first-period classes. Friday afternoon — a day after doctors at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital installed a pacemaker on her chest that will help her control an abnormal heart rhythm — Hardy returned to Hermitage to surprise and thank the people she said saved her life. She was smiling, energetic and looking as healthy as if nothing had happened to her just three days earlier. “Did you save me? I can’t remember who saved me,” she told Ruder as she entered the school clinic in surprise. “I think it’s the man upstairs,” the nurse responded and hugged her. “I’ll tell you one thing. I never ever want to see this happen to you again!” Hardy’s father, Antonio Hardy, said his daughter is alive today thanks to the people at the school who did the right thing, including grabbing an AED and using it properly. “I don’t think there is a word in any language to express how grateful I am,” Hardy said. “I am grateful to everybody that was involved in saving her life.” “The students that were involved, the staff that was involved, the police officer that was involved went above and beyond what they were supposed to do,” he said. As Ruder and Brawley arrived in the gym, they thought Hardy had fainted or had suffered a seizure, more common among teenagers, they said. But an application of ammonia didn’t help Hardy regain consciousness and her skin turned blue, the nurses said. “At that point we knew the situation was a little bit deeper than just fainting or maybe even a seizure,” Ruder said. “Ms. Brawley and I figured she wasn’t breathing. … We could not feel her pulse whatsoever and we started CPR.” Steiner ran to get an AED that was in the gym while Ruder, Brawley, and senior police officer Glenn “Chip” Holder tried to resuscitate Hardy. They then applied the device and it determined that a shock was needed. After a second shock, Hardy’s pulse resumed and she was breathing. It took approximately 10 minutes from the moment Hardy collapsed to when she was resuscitated, school officials said. Though AEDs are not required, there is at least one at every Henrico school, district spokesman Mychael Dickerson said. The devices cost roughly $1,000 and lead users through the steps needed so they can be used with little or no training. At a school where the two nurses stay busy treating sports injuries or minor health problems, as well as keeping an eye on students with more significant health concerns, a student suffering cardiac arrest was unexpected. “It is uncommon for a child to have cardiac arrest,” Ruder said. “Kids do have seizures. We have kids that have diabetes that pass out. … But this is the biggest thing that has ever happened to all of us.” The closest to something similar was two years ago when a parent suffered heart failure outside the school and died, Principal Omega W. Wilson said Thursday afternoon as she recalled Tuesday’s scene at the gym. So many things could have gone wrong, but everything happened in perfect timing and it was a true team effort, said a teary Wilson who, with Associate Principal Diane R. Saunders, was also at the scene Tuesday. “They were the ones that brought her back to life,” Wilson said of her staff and Holder. “These are my heroes because they are humble and they saved a life. They saved the life of a child.”

Why Did I Survive My Brush With Death on a Baseball Field?

Many Times an AED is the ONLY Way to Save a Life!

OpEdNews.com By Roger Shuler

This has been a tragic spring, with thousands of American lives lost,  or savagely disrupted, by tornadoes in the Southeast and Midwest. It’s hard to compare stories of tragedy, to determine which is more sad or disturbing. But one that touched me deeply came last week when a youth baseball player died after being hit in the chest with a thrown ball. It happened in Winslow, Arizona, the town made famous by Jackson Browne and the Eagles in the timeless hit “Take It Easy” (“I was standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and such a fine sight to see . . . ). Hayden Walton, 13, tried to bunt a pitch, but it hit him in the chest. Walton took a few steps toward first base before collapsing. He died the next morning. Baseball is the quintessential American game. Some of my fondest memories as a kid are of playing baseball, both the informal kind in someone’s backyard or an open field and the organized kind, which I played in various leagues from age 8 up into high school. The thought of a child dying while playing baseball  is so implausible that it scrambles the mind. The Hayden Walton story hits particularly close to home because I probably came a few microseconds away from meeting a similar fate when I was 9 years old. Walton died from commotio cordis,  which is a disruption of the heart rhythm from a blow to the chest during a critical time in the heart beat. The name of the condition comes from the Latin for “agitation of the heart.” What happens during commotio cordis? Here is how a medscape.com article describes it: Commotio cordis typically involves young, predominantly male, athletes in whom a sudden, blunt, nonpenetrating and innocuous-appearing trauma to the anterior chest results in immediate cardiac arrest and sudden death from ventricular fibrillation. The rate of resuscitation is low but improving. Although commotio cordis usually involves impact from a baseball, it has also been reported during hockey, softball, lacrosse, karate, and other sports activities in which a relatively hard and compact projectile or bodily contact caused impact to the person’s precordium. Nearly 250 cases have been reported to the National Commotio Cordis Registry. . . . Despite a recent increase in registry cases because of increased awareness, the entity is still probably underreported. Deaths from commotio cordis are relatively rare, but I seem to read about one or two cases every summer. And each time, the stories touch me deeply. I was struck in the chest by a pitch when I was 9 years old, while playing in a Kiwanis league baseball game in my hometown of Springfield, Missouri. It was 1966, and at the time, I don’t think many people had heard of commotio cordis;  I sure hadn’t. It wasn’t until about 30 years later that I read about a young baseball player dying from a blow to the chest and first heard the term commotio cordis.  My reaction? “How in the world did I manage to survive? Why am I still here?” I played organized sports, in one form or another, well into my 30s, and that pitch to the chest was far and away my scariest moment in competition. I remember pretty much all of the details. My team was Dixon’s Hornets, and we were playing our season opener at Harry Carr Park (which I understand was plowed under for some sort of development several years ago). The opposing team was Bob’s Bluestreaks, and they had probably the best pitcher in our league, a kid named Richie Voyles. I don’t recall ever getting a hit off Richie Voyles. But he hit me with a pitch I will never forget. The distance from the pitching rubber to home plate for 9 year olds was not much, well short of the 60 feet, 6 inches that you usually see for high schools up to the major leagues. I’m guessing it was 48 feet or so, and when a kid like Richie Voyles could really bring it, there wasn’t much time to react. I don’t remember the count, but I think it was the first pitch of my first at-bat of the season. The pitch was heading inside from the moment it left Richie’s hand, and for some reason, I turned into it. If I had turned away from it, it would have hit me in the back. It would have hurt, but I would have taken my base and been little worse for wear. Because I turned into the pitch, it caught me square in the chest. The thought that I could be hit by a pitch–particularly one thrown that hard–I don’t think had ever occurred to me. I didn’t fall down or even bend over; I was so shocked by the force of the pitch that I just stood there for a moment, finally gathering myself to trot to first base. When I got home and took my shirt off, I discovered an imprint of stitches from the baseball on my chest, right on the breastbone. The mark stayed for several days. I don’t recall ever crying as a result of a sporting event. But I do remember tears coming to my eyes as I stood on first base that night, struggling to catch my breath. It was my first encounter with fear on the baseball field, and it took me a while to get over it. I developed a habit of bailing out on pitches, my left leg “stepping in the bucket” out of fear that I would get nailed again. I’m not sure I got a hit that entire season, and I got used to seeing my name at the bottom of our batting order. It was probably a year and a half before I managed to “hang in there” at the plate and become a decent hitter again. But I never totally forgot how much it can hurt to be hit by a thrown ball. That might be one reason I never fulfilled my dream of becoming center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. A shortage of talent might be another. I did have a pretty good throwing arm, which my coaches discovered when I caught a fly ball in right field and threw out a runner trying to advance from second to third base. They turned me into a pitcher, and that remained my primary position well into high school. Fortunately, I had pretty good control and never walked or hit too many batters. But I do recall feeling terrible when I let one go on the inside, and it hit a batter. How did I survive my close encounter with commotio cordis? I will never know for sure. Most articles I’ve read indicate the blow has to come at a certain spot on the chest, at a certain point in the heart rhythm. If it comes at one point in the heart beat, you are fine; if it comes at a second point in the heart beat, you are dead. In most cases of commotio cordis, no underlying heart defect is present. It’s all a matter of location and timing. In my case, the imprint from the ball’s stitches was right on the breast bone, in the center of my chest. Best I can tell, that location is prime territory for commotio cordis. According to this article, the heart is in the middle of the chest, tilted so that slightly more of it is to the left of the breastbone than to the right, as you look down at your own chest. Would I still be here if the pitch had struck, say, a half inch to the left? Maybe not. There is no question that the ball was thrown hard enough to cause commotio cordis. (I’m telling you, Richie Voyles could bring serious heat; he was the Nolan Ryan of our league. Another outstanding pitcher was Sammy Miller of the Superior Tilers. We called him “Sudden Sam” because, like Voyles, he could get the ball to the plate in a hurry. Thankfully, Sudden Sam had pinpoint control, and I never was afraid of him. In fact, I recall getting a few hits off him over the years. But Voyles was a different story. He could be a little wild, with a deceptive motion, and I was never terribly anxious to dig in with him on the mound.) Timing, I suspect, was the key factor in my case. Researchers believe that commotio cordis occurs when a blow to the chest upsets the electrical rhythm of the heart at a critical moment in the heart beat. Think about your heart beat, and then try to think about a few microseconds within that heart beat. At one microsecond during a trauma to your body, you are alive; at another microsecond, you are dead. That’s probably how close I was to being a goner. One of the best technical articles I’ve seen on commotio cordis can be found here: Sudden cardiac death by commotio cordis: Role of mechano-electric feedback I’ve shared my baseball-to-the-chest story several times with Mrs. Schnauzer. (OK, make that many times, so much that she starts to roll her eyes when she hears it begin now.) The experience does raise this cosmic question: Why am I still here? During particularly dark moments in our legal travails, Mrs. Schnauzer has been known to cry out, “Why are we here? Are we supposed to just take abuse for the rest of our lives, to sit back and be ruined?” I don’t always have good answers to questions like that. But since that summer evening in 1966, every moment of my life has essentially been “gravy.” My little spot in this world probably should have ended when I was 9 years old. Why it didn’t, now that I’ve become fairly knowledgeable about commotio cordis, is beyond me. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the night I nearly died. But when I read about a youngster like Hayden Walton, I grieve–and I think about my place in this world. Why am I still here? Do those thoughts drive this blog, have they fueled our fight against injustice? Maybe they have. I do know this: When I was 9 years old, I faced something far more scary than anything a corrupt judge or lawyer can bring. I’m not fearless–far from it. But I do have a sense that I must have been spared for a reason. I want the extra time I’ve been given to count for something. Mrs. Schnauzer and I are just two regular folks who never sought a battle over judicial corruption. In fact, I didn’t want any battles at all; I would have been perfectly happy with wonderful pets, a few good books to read, sports teams to pull for, and a relatively pain-free life. Someone upstairs apparently had other plans. I pray for Hayden Walton and his family and friends. I pray for a young pitcher who must be feeling terrible guilt about what happened that night in Winslow, Arizona. I pray for the other players who were on that field, who probably will never see baseball the same way again. And I pray that those kids grow up in a more just world, where the law is applied fairly and correctly to all. If this little blog can help make that happen, then maybe a life can be saved.

Don’t Be Complacent About Using an AED!

Harvard Medical School Adviser: Using an automated external defibrillatorJun 5, 2011

QUESTION: I often see defibrillator boxes on the walls in public places around my town, from the supermarket to the library. Each time I do, I wonder who actually knows how to use such a thing and whether I would be capable of using one if the need arose. How hard are they to use, and should people learn ahead of time? ANSWER: Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are the best — and often last — hope for people who collapse because their hearts have lapsed into a fast, irregular and deadly heartbeat known as ventricular fibrillation. These shock-delivering devices are becoming a standard fixture in airports, malls, casinos and other public places. They are easy to use, and the directions printed on them are so clear and straightforward that even schoolchildren can learn to use them. But your questions and hesitation about AEDs are very common. In fact, when 1,000 adults were asked if they would use a nearby defibrillator to revive a person who had collapsed in a public place, more than half answered no. To gauge the readiness of the most likely rescuers — untrained bystanders — Dutch researchers surveyed passersby in Centraal Station, a busy rail station in downtown Amsterdam. Each interview was conducted within 10 feet of one of the five AEDs prominently displayed in the station. More than half of those who took part in the survey could not identify the glass-fronted box on the wall as an emergency defibrillator. And only 47% said they would use the AED in an emergency. The most common reasons for declining to use the device were not knowing how it works (69%) and worries about hurting the victim (14%). There are two major types of cardiac emergencies. A heart attack is the slower-moving type, caused by a clot and usually causing chest pains that can last for hours. The second type, called a cardiac arrest, strikes so fast that there’s little or no time to call for help. Unless two specific treatments — cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and an electric shock to the heart — are begun, the chances of surviving or of living without permanent brain damage dwindle with each passing minute. The chances of surviving a cardiac arrest fall about 10% for each minute the heart stays in ventricular fibrillation. Shock the heart back into a normal rhythm within two minutes, and the victim has an 80% chance of surviving. Most automated external defibrillators use the same basic steps. And most have a gentle but authoritative computerized voice that gives the user easy-to-follow instructions. Don’t let lack of knowledge keep you from saving a life. Trying is better than doing nothing. Have a question? Send it to harvard-adviser@hms.harvard.edu  Martha Lopez-AndersonChair, Board of Directors

Why aren’t AEDs Being Used in Emergencies?

POSTED: Monday, May 16, 2011UPDATED: 6:03 pm EDT May 16, 2011

Automated external defibrillators or AEDs are becoming a common sight in schools, gyms and businesses. Even local elementary school children have been trained to run and grab the device in an emergency. But experts said too often these lifesaving devices are not being used when an emergency happens. Puran Raber’s 16-year-old son Ian’s heart stopped after he was struck in the chest by a baseball at Avondale High School. The school has two AEDs, but neither was brought to the scene or used to restart Ian’s heart. “I walked through the gym doors, and I saw him laying on the floor. And EMS was working on him, and I ran over and I looked at him and I just started crying,” said Raber. “I said ‘Do you have a pulse?’ And they said, ‘No we don’t.'” Paramedics were eventually able to restart Ian’s heart, but his parents wonder if he would have had an easier recovery if an AED had been used immediately or if someone had performed CPR. “That morning, if anyone had gotten that defibrillator and brought it to Ian’s side, then maybe somebody would have used it. But it never entered anybody’s mind to go get it,” said Raber. Raber’s story highlights a basic flaw in the AED system — they’re only effective if a bystander is willing and able to use them. “AEDs don’t save lives. People using an AED save lives,” said Dr. Robert Swor, the director of Emergency Research at Beaumont Hospital. Swor said there a two sets of problems involving AED use. “One is physically where is the device? Do people know where it is? Is it locked up? And then there’s the other problem where cardiac arrest is a scary situation, and certainly they’re confusing for people,” said Swor. Dr. Frank McGeorge reported in an emergency, some people simply freeze up and don’t act. Others are afraid of hurting someone by doing CPR or using an AED, and the majority may not recognize that someone needs an AED. There are no firm statistics on how often an AED goes unused in an emergency, but researchers have studied similar situations involving CPR. Swor’s research found when bystanders trained in CPR witnessed someone in cardiac arrest, only 35 percent actually did CPR. The majority, 65 percent, did not perform CPR. McGeorge said many people don’t realize an AED won’t deliver a shock unless it’s needed, so there’s no need to be concerned about hurting someone accidentally. Swor said choosing not to use an AED dramatically reduces someone’s chance of surviving cardiac arrest. “If you get defibrillated after a cardiac arrest in a public place, your chance of survival is about 40 percent. Usually 5 to 10 percent of people survive a cardiac arrest overall. So, they’re dramatic in their ability to improve survival,” said Swor. Experts said it’s crucial for facilities that have an AED to make sure several people are trained to use the device and that training is repeated on a regular basis. Parents and employees need to ask where the defibrillators are, how many people have been trained and how often that training is being repeated. Avondale Schools Superintendent George Heitsch told Local 4 they are thankful Ian is back in school and doing well. Heitsch said because of Ian’s accident, the district plans to increase AED training to include annual refresher classes districtwide at the beginning of each school year. Avondale High School will also soon be getting a third defibrillator. “What we really need people to do is act,” said Swor. “Call 911 and start doing CPR. And if there’s a defibrillator available, get it.” Raber is now working with her children’s schools to make sure what happened after Ian’s accident never happens again. “I thank God every single night that he gave him back to us,” said Raber.

Two Heart Wrenching Stories

Another save for New York schools! J    Thanks to Karen Acompora for sharing. Quick thinking at Comsewogue:

Comsewogue coaches Rick Miekley and Justin Seifert likely saved the life of softball player Hope Reindl, 17, after the teen collapsed during an after-school intramural basketball game, Newsday reported. Miekley immediately came to her aid and Seifert had a student retrieve a portable defibrillator. Doctors told Reindl’s family she had suffered an arrhythmia. She was listed in good condition Thursday night at Stony Brook University Medical Center, the paper reported. Both coaches are certified in CPR and defibrillator use; Miekley also is a former athletic trainer for Stony Brook University and a former CPR instructor. “They never hesitated,” Principal Joseph Coniglione said. “It is always about the kids for them and when they saw that, it was as if it was one of their own.”

Letter: My Dad, My Hero A son’s letter about his dad who helped saved a student’s life. By Rich Arleo 12:00pm  Letter to the Editor:

The following is an original letter sent to Patch by David W. Miekly, the son of Comsewogue coach and Sound Beach resident Rick Miekley who recently helped save a collapsed student’s life. By David W. Miekley My dad is my hero. And now he is someone else’s hero too. My dad recently saved a girl’s life when she collapsed in the gym at Comsewogue High School. The girl’s name is Hope. She is a softball player at Comsewogue High School. That day she was playing basketball when she collapsed and her heart stopped beating. My dad, Rick Miekley, is a health teacher and coach at Comsewogue and was coaching the boy’s basketball team when Hope collapsed. The girl’s coach, Coach Seifert, called to my dad for help. At first, my dad thought Hope had just sprained her ankle. But when he got closer, he realized that she was turning purple and not breathing. Coach Seifert called 911 and he asked a student to get the Automatic External Defibilator (AED). My dad started CPR and when Hope didn’t respond, they hooked up the AED and backed up and shocked her. Then my dad went back to doing CPR and her heart started beating again. At the hospital, Hope’s dad gave my dad a big hug to thank him for saving his daughter’s life. My dad has visited Hope twice at her house since she got out of the hospital after having surgery to make her heart beat right. I got to go with him once and meet Hope and her family. It was cool that I got to meet Hope. My dad is my hero because he helps me with my homework and he helps me be a good baseball player. When my dad saved Hope, he said he treated Hope like she was one of his own kids. I asked my dad if he was scared when Hope collapsed. He said he didn’t have time to think about being scared; he just did what he was taught to do. That was the first time he had to do CPR on someone. Since my dad saved Hope, a lot of people have interviewed him and he was on the news. He also got an award from the Suffolk County Legislature. I think it’s cool that everyone is happy that my dad saved Hope. But I always knew he was a hero.

TWO More Reasons For AEDs In Schools!

Another save for New York schools! J    Thanks to Karen Acompora for sharing. Quick thinking at Comsewogue:

Comsewogue coaches Rick Miekley and Justin Seifert likely saved the life of softball player Hope Reindl, 17, after the teen collapsed during an after-school intramural basketball game, Newsday reported. Miekley immediately came to her aid and Seifert had a student retrieve a portable defibrillator. Doctors told Reindl’s family she had suffered an arrhythmia. She was listed in good condition Thursday night at Stony Brook University Medical Center, the paper reported. Both coaches are certified in CPR and defibrillator use; Miekley also is a former athletic trainer for Stony Brook University and a former CPR instructor. “They never hesitated,” Principal Joseph Coniglione said. “It is always about the kids for them and when they saw that, it was as if it was one of their own.”

Cheerleaders are victims of sudden cardiac arrest too. Please don’t be complacent whaen it comes to saving lives!

I sure hope that doctors have done a complete cardiac workup and not just focused on “sports-induced asthma”

Student, 16, survives cardiac arrest at North Hunterdon High Published: Wednesday, April 06, 2011, 10:48 AM     Updated: Wednesday, April 06, 2011, 10:53 AMBy Hunterdon County Democrat Hunterdon County Democrat  CLINTON TWP. —

A 16-year-old girl collapsed in cardiac arrest during cheerleader tryouts at North Hunterdon High School on Tuesday night and was flown to Morristown Memorial Hospital after receiving CPR from police, school staff and a parent.  As part of tryouts, the girls were jogging through the hallways of the school when the junior collapsed in a second-floor hallway and went into a seizure, Clinton Township police said. Other girls reported noticing that she was experiencing shortness of breath before she collapsed. She had no pulse and looked blue when Patrolman John Tiger arrived. School staff gave her a shock from an automated external defibrillator and Tiger gave her chest compressions while Kelly Strauss, the mother of another girl at the tryouts, performed rescue breathing, police said. After three cycles of CPR, the girl started to breathe and the color came back to her face, police said. She was flown by the State Police Northstar helicopter, which had landed at the school around 7:15 p.m., to Morristown. She was “awake and doing OK” at the hospital this morning, according to school spokeswoman Maren Smagala. The victim’s mother told police that her daughter suffers from sports-induced asthma, which may have caused the attack. Clinton Rescue Squad and Hunterdon Medical Center paramedics also responded to the 9-1-1 call. Martha Lopez-AndersonChair, Board of Directors