To save one life is as if to save the world.
In his FY 2014 budget submitted to Congress on April 10th, President Obama zeroed out funding for the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices Program—the AED Program. Now it is up to Congress to restore funding for this life-saving program, as they have done in the past, but they need to hear from as many of their constituents as possible on the value of this program. The American Heart Association's Ad Hoc Coalition To Save Lives Through Public Access to Defibrillation urges you to contact your legislators and ask that funding be restored. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation is a member of the Coalition.
Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are those breadbox-sized white boxes adorned with a bright red heart and lightning bolt seen in restaurants, bars, shopping malls and hotels across the country. They contain a lifesaving medical device designed to shock failing hearts back to life. AEDs are based on relatively simple technology designed for use by laypeople to analyze heart rhythms and determine whether or not a shock is required.
Sadly, when Florida high school soccer player Abel Limones, Jr. collapsed during an intramural match, his coaches, players, principal and even school nurse ignored an available AED that sat idly by on a nearby golf cart as CPR was performed. Eventually, 911 was called. The child went nearly 23 minutes without resuscitation. By the time Fire Rescue arrived, the boy was left with catastrophic brain damage. Today, he lives in a constant vegetative state requiring 24-hour care.
The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation is opposed to the FDA's proposed reclassification of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) as Class III devices. Our Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivor Network is a testament to the fact that AEDs save lives. It has taken so long to improve rates of survival from sudden cardiac arrest. Let's not take a giant step backwards.
Bystander aid can mean the difference between life and death
A widely reported incident at an independent living facility in Bakersfield, California, provides an opportunity to reinforce for the general public the importance, simplicity, and effectiveness of basic lifesaving interventions. The Glenwood Gardens case involved a nurse on staff who did not perform CPR on an 87-year-old female resident who had collapsed suddenly in cardiac arrest, choosing instead to wait for the arrival of emergency medical services. According to multiple reports, the victim, Lorraine Bayless, did not have a “do not resuscitate” order.
Today is the one-year anniversary of College of Charleston student Justin Rephas' brush with sudden cardiac arrest.
Happy Rebirthday, Justin. And congratulations to Medical University of South Carolina nursing student Meg Skeele and Dr. Michael Bernard, bystanders who helped Justin "stay alive" with CPR.
And thank you to Lindsey Rephas, Justin's sister, for sharing Justin's story with the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation. Lindsey is a Peace Corps volunteer, working to raise awareness about the importance of CPR in Moldova.
To read Justin's story, click here.
The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of reclassifying "pre-amendment class III devices," including automated external defibrillators (AEDs). This proposed increase in regulations will have significant public health consequences, due to reduced access to early defibrillation for the nation's victims of sudden cardiac arrest. If regulatory hurdles increase, access to lifesaving treatment with AEDs will decrease. Following is our letter to the FDA.
We urge you to express your concerns to the FDA as soon as possible, before a determination is made. Sign this petition. Or use the sample letter below.
More coverage: Journal of Emergency Medical Services
If people listen to Dr. George Lundberg, it will be very unfortunate for future victims of sudden cardiac arrest.
An important date in my life is just around the corner. Every year on June 2, my wife, Lis, and I remember, reflect and celebrate. No, it is not the date I was brought into the world, our wedding anniversary or a holiday. It is the date that, in 1999, I suffered—and survived—sudden cardiac death. Lis calls it my “rebirthday.”
Fabrice Muamba, 23, a British soccer player, suffered sudden cardiac arrest on March 17, and was clinically dead for 78 minutes before being resuscitated. He has since recovered and was discharged from the hospital on April 16. Whether or not he will continue as a footballer has yet to be decided. For now, he wants to spend precious time with his family.
On April 14, Italian soccer player Piermario Morosini, 25, suffered SCA during a match. Unfortunately, he could not be resuscitated.