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Friday, March 13, 2009

AEDs Save Lives

For a number of years, stretching back to before I was a member of the team, the ERT at my company was embroiled in a bitter battle with company management. At the center of the issue was a request from the ERT members for the company to provide Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) in each building, to be available to employees should the need arise.

Management initially resisted the request. It was too expensive. It would require training. It might open up liability issues. They wanted a wellness program instead. These excuses stalled the process for a good five years, frustrating the team members to no end.

Contrary to somewhat-popular belief, AEDs do not require training, although training is available in most CPR classes. The devices are designed for the lay responder, with simple diagrams and spoken instructions. In our state, the Good Samaritan laws cover possible liability against someone who is attempting to assist in good faith. And a wellness program doesn't do a damned thing for someone who has possible genetic predispositions, and/or who does not wish to participate. For these reasons, we argued, AEDs are needed.

Finally, in 2005, after some of the stonewalling upper management personnel moved onto other endeavors, the program was approved. AEDs began appearing in our buildings and on the shoulders of ERT Team Leads and Security personnel alike, to the delight of all of us who had fought so hard to have them approved.

There is no question that these devices have the potential to save lives. They cannot help everyone who experiences cardiac arrest, but if applied quickly to a patient who is experiencing certain types of heart rhythms, the AED can help reset the heart to a normal pattern.

This was proven, earlier this week, on another campus that our company resides in.

One of our fellow employees experienced a sudden cardiac arrest at his cube, hitting his head sharply on the corner of the desk as he went down. Our ERT on that campus sprung into action, began CPR, and applied the AED. Four shocks and four rounds of chest compressions later, and his heart rhythm and pulse were restored. He even regained consciousness before being loaded into the ambulance. Had the AED not been available, he would have undoubtedly experienced massive brain damage, or even death.

This day, was not his day to die. And it was made possible because the AED was nearby and ready.

Even more heartwarming, I just received an email that stated that the patient would be going home from the hospital in approximately one week's time. We all much prefer that, to his family attending his funeral.

AEDs are all around now. Look for them in public places. Take a CPR class. Learn to use them. One day, it may be your family member or your friend that may need it.

AEDs save lives. We have just proven this, on one of our own.

2 Comments:

Blogger Foxxy One said...

Slinky my love - this post brought tears to my eyes. I work for a company that provides wellness programs and we just installed an AED not 6 months ago.

Since that time the manager who spearheaded the initiative was diagnosed with dangerously high blood pressure. He has severe back pain and, thinking he had a kidney infection, went to the ER. He was immediately admitted.

Since we last spoke, I got the official diagnosis. I have systemic mastocytosis. Many people with this disease "shock" which means I can be going about my day and go into anaphalatic shock which means my blood pressure drops dangerously low. Knowing we have the AED (along with training my staff on how to use an epi pen) means I can feel safe at work.

March 15, 2009 at 2:32:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Justin said...

Hi Andrea,

I heard from a few folks I keep in touch with about this *second* incident that occurred. In all my many years there, that program remainds one of the things I am proudest of. When I got to this new job - one of the first things I did was immplement an AED Program.

Best,

Justin

March 31, 2009 at 9:57:00 AM PDT  

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