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Jim Baum was a good neighbor. After seeing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) mounted in the Chicago O’Hare Airport, he spoke to a physician friend about them and decided that he should have a device in each of his homes because his neighbors were elderly. Little did he know, Jim would later be saved by one of the devices. That was in 2003.
Jim was a true believer in the value of AEDs. One Christmas, he gave each of his children AEDs for their homes.
A federal appeals court in California ruled this week in support of the California Supreme Court in the case of Verdugo v. Target.
[The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation had submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the plaintiff in this case.]
While it is extremely disappointing that the California courts have not recognized the importance of preparing for sudden cardiac arrest in big box stores such as Target, it is good to know that while Judge Harry Pregerson, part of a three-member appeals court panel, accepted the decision, he called it "troubling."
The devices are “inexpensive, nearly foolproof,” and “should be as common as first-aid kits,” he said.
When most people think of October, they think pink. People everywhere know that October is breast cancer awareness month. About 40,000 women in the U.S. are expected to die from breast cancer in 2014, although fortunately death rates have been decreasing since 1989—largely because of increased awareness, earlier detection through screening, and treatment advances.
Dan Borislow, the inventor of magicJack, died of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) last month after playing soccer at a community park in Jupiter, Florida. He was only 52-years-old, and is survived by a wife and children. He was one of 300,000 to 400,000 people who die each year of cardiac arrest in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.
I play in the same adult soccer league with Borislow. Athletes of all ages play on those fields. People of every age have cardiac events — even children. In fact, the organization called Parent Heart Watch consists of parents who have lost their children due to sudden cardiac death.
In a long-awaited and important AED-related decision, the California Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that there is no common law duty (aka legally imposed obligation) requiring Target Corporation to obtain and make available AEDs in its stores for use in medical emergencies. This result effectively ends the case but the decision will reverberate in California and courts in other states for many years to come.
By way of background, this case began in 2008 when Mary Ann Verdugo, a 49-year-old developmentally disabled shopper with serious health issues, died after experiencing sudden cardiac arrest at a California Target store. The store lacked an AED or an employee trained to use one, though at the time Target sold AEDs on its website.
Stuart R. Koenig (June 14, 1947 – September 15, 2012)
My dad died from sudden cardiac arrest when he was 65. He was active and in shape, he was on cholesterol meds, he detested cigarettes, and I never saw him drink anything stronger than a cabernet. But he still died, playing tennis, and dropped so fast he didn’t even break the impact of his fall with his hands. When they laid him out at the funeral home, his nose looked freshly broken.
The long court battle in the case of Verdugo v. Target is nearing its end. The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments on May 6, 2014 and a decision is expected by August. I listened to the audio recording of the proceedings and, to my ear, the justices took a skeptical view of the Verdugos’ position that commercial property owners in California must have automated external defibrillators (AEDs). While, as a general rule, one cannot reliably predict the outcome of an appeal from the oral arguments, the justices’ questions and interactions with the lawyers strongly suggest the court will rule in Target’s favor by finding there is no common law duty requiring California businesses to have AEDs.
By Richard A. Lazar
The Boston Marathon was Jeff Doroh's third marathon. Doroh, of Milford, NH, didn't finish the first two, due to medical issues, but he finished Boston on April 21, running to support the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation and help raise awareness about the leading cause of death in the U.S.
Recent school saves highlight the importance of medical emergency response plans that include CPR and use of automated external defibrillators and demonstrate that these common sense preparations are not just about saving students.
Here is a sampling of saves reported in the past month: