To save one life is as if to save the world.

- The Talmud

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Recent School Saves Highlight Importance of Emergency Response Plans

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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:

CPR on the Big Screen

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From Nov. 22, 2013, to Jan. 10, 2014, many Minnesota moviegoers watched something much more useful than product advertising as they waited for movies to start. A public service announcement produced by the Minnesota Resuscitation Consortium (MRC), a program of the University of Minnesota, aired on the big screen in 14 movie theaters statewide as well as on television screens in theater lobbies. The message: Anyone can help save the life of an adult in sudden cardiac arrest.

“We chose theaters to provide a broad coverage of Minnesota,” explained MRC Program Manager Kim Harkins. “Between the 14 theaters, it was projected to have approximately half a million views.”

Lawsuit Claims Two Non-Working Health Club AEDs Led to Member’s Sudden Cardiac Death

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A lawsuit filed recently in Syracuse, New York, claims that two non-working AEDs placed in a health club led to a member’s sudden cardiac death.  The incident happened on May 13, 2013 when the member, attorney Ronald Pelligra, experienced sudden cardiac arrest while working out at the Aspen Athletic Club. According to court papers (called a “complaint” in legal jargon) filed on behalf of Mr. Pelligra’s widow, the club had two AEDs but neither worked when employees retrieved and tried to use them. One AED apparently had no battery and the other had a dead battery.  As a result, according to the lawsuit, Mr. Pelligra died.

Thank You, Jeff Doroh, for Raising Awareness about Sudden Cardiac Arrest at the Boston Marathon!

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Jeff Doroh, 32, of Milford, New Hampshire, is passionate about running--and raising awareness about sudden cardiac arrest. On April 21, he will run in the Boston Marathon in support of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. See his story below.

To support Jeff's "Run with Heart" fundraiser, click here.

Jeff's Story

Jeff DorohAs some of you may or may not know Boston will be my third marathon. But I didn’t finish both of the previous two. I’m sure most of you can tell that I love running, I have a huge passion for it and some would say a little obsessed. But all that almost came to an end during mile 25 of the Chicago Marathon in 2011.

The Target Case Attracts a Crowd: Update on an Important AED Case

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In the case of Verdugo v. Target, the California Supreme Court is considering whether there is a common law duty requiring commercial property owners in the state to have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available for use in situations involving sudden cardiac arrest. A number of outside parties on both sides of the question have now filed additional briefs setting the stage for some very interesting oral arguments (not yet scheduled) before the Supreme Court. This is one of the most important AED cases to come along and has the potential to profoundly affect public access defibrillation in the U.S.

Taking Life Into Your Own Hands

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Millions of people have been trained in CPR in recent decades, yet when people who aren’t in hospitals collapse from a sudden cardiac arrest, relatively few bystanders attempt resuscitation. Only one-fourth to one-third of those who might be helped by CPR receive it before paramedics arrive.

With so many people trained, why isn’t bystander CPR done more often?

For one thing, people forget what to do: the panic that may ensue is not conducive to accurate recall. Even those with medical training often can’t remember the steps just a few months after learning them. Rather than make a mistake, some bystanders simply do nothing beyond calling 911, even though emergency dispatchers often tell callers how to perform CPR.

Then there is the yuck factor: performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a stranger. So pervasive is the feeling of reluctance that researchers decided to study whether rescue breathing is really necessary.

Putting the FDA's Recent Safety Communication in Context

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Philips HeartStart FRx, Home, and OnSite AEDs are safe and effective, and owners should not hesitate to retrieve and use these life-saving devices in cardiac arrest emergencies. That’s the lead. Yet, you wouldn’t know that from all the frightening media headlines generated in response to the recent FDA safety communication regarding these AEDs. Nor from the plaintiff’s lawyers who are already soliciting cases involving these devices (imagine what they would say if one of these AEDs wasn’t used to try to save an SCA victim).

Today is #Giving Tuesday

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Giving TuesdayBlack Friday and Cyber Monday have passed. Today is a day to give back.

It's Giving Tuesday, a national day of giving that celebrates the spirit of generosity. 

With your support, the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, an official 2013 Giving Tuesday partner, named a 2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit by Great Nonprofits, can continue to conduct vital programs designed to raise awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and help save lives.

Should Student Athletes Undergo Cardiac Screening?

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The New England Journal of Medicine has posted a poll regarding cardiac screening before participation in high school sports. It poses the question whether athletes should undergo cardiac screening, and if so whether that should include not only a history and physical, but also an electrocardiogram (ECG). What do you think? 

Excerpt from NEJM 

This interactive feature addresses the approach to a clinical issue. A case vignette is followed by specific options, none of which can be considered correct or incorrect. In short essays, experts in the field then argue for each of the options. Readers can participate in forming community opinion by choosing one of the options and, if they like, providing their reasons.

Teen Organizes EKG Screening in Pittsburgh

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Alyssa, left, and fellow studentWe commend Alyssa Mehlhorn, for her work as a volunteer for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, and in particular, for organizing a heart screening for fellow students as her senior high school project.
Alyssa Mehlhorn couldn’t decide on a topic for her senior research paper. She wanted to focus on a debate in the medical community and wasn’t having much luck, until her grandmother, a volunteer for The Max Schewitz Foundation, suggested Sudden Cardiac Death in teens. 
The high school senior began to research the topic and quickly learned EKG testing for high school students was definitely a debate.
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