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:
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.”
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.
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.
As 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.
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.