Around 24 million people live in the 10 counties that comprise Southern California, where it’s estimated that nearly 14,500 EMS-treated out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) occur each year - of which only around 1,500 survive.
This loss of life is equivalent to losing 25 jumbo jets each year, and does not even include those suffering from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest who are beyond help when 911-responders arrive or those succumbing to cardiac arrest within our hospitals.
Furthermore, this disease disproportionately affects underserved, minority and homeless communities, and those lucky enough to survive their event face social, emotional, and financial challenges as well as the dizzying task of navigating a healthcare world that grows more complex each year.
The Southern California Chapter of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation aims to:
- Form support groups for survivors, family members, and bystander-witnesses following cardiac arrest events
- Coordinate celebration of life events to honor survivors of cardiac arrest and their rescuers
- Sponsor programs within communities to strengthen the chain of survival, in particular, citizen CPR and public access defibrillation
- Sponsor programs and provide assistance to EMS agencies and hospitals with efforts such the as the Resuscitation Academy
- Work with community leaders to enhance the uptake of efforts such as PulsePoint and PulsePoint VR to improve response to suspected OHCA in public and private locations
- Lobby city and state legislators to develop infrastructure, create policies and pass legislation aimed to improve survival from both out-of-hospital and in-hospital cardiac arrest.
SCAF-SoCal is led by Dr. Steve Sanko, an emergency physician at LAC+USC Medical Center who has extensive experience both overseeing prehospital and in-hospital cardiac arrest response teams as well as researching the health inequities associated with these events. He is joined by mentor Allison Gingold, a longtime champion of better cardiac arrest policies and AED availability here in California, who is also the fearless mother of a pediatric cardiac arrest survivor.
We strongly encourage all survivors, family members and advocates to visit and enroll in SCAF’s new Cardiac Arrest Survivor Alliance website (community.casahearts.org) - no-pay, no-advertising online community where those affected by these events can share their experiences.