Many newspapers ran stories about the first annual National CPR/AED week. Congress set aside the first week in June to spotlight how lives can be saved if more Americans know CPR and how to use an AED (a defibrillator).
Now we have many stories of the tragedy of a high profile public figure struck down by cardiac arrest that may have been prevented through the availability and use of an AED. Details may be forthcoming, but the story so far is that Tim Russert did receive bystander CPR, but no defibrillation until the EMTs arrived some minutes after his collapse. This is all too common a situation and causes hundreds of deaths per day across the country.
Could Tim’s demise help us to save someone else? It’s all too easy, Call 9-1-1, and start CPR. Ask someone to get an AED, and then use it. They are simple and safe, even a child can do it.
My wife was one of the very few lucky ones. She suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, six weeks after we were married, and survived with no deficits whatsoever. She had no underlying heart disease, and was fit and healthy. Without the two saviors who witnessed her collapse, she would not be here today. They started CPR instantly, but there was no AED available. The EMTs had one and it took them nearly twenty minutes to shock her heart back into rhythm. She beat the odds. Tim didn’t. If AEDs were as ubiquitous as fire extinguishers or sprinkler systems we could be far more certain of a positive outcome.
Check your office, your gym, the next hotel you stay at, and also your home. Is there an AED available? Will you use it if someone collapses? You can easily be trained, in many places it is a free service offered by your local fire department.
CPR & AEDs save lives - probably would have saved Tim Russert’s life.