mnewman's blog

mnewman's blog

Missing the Forest for the Trees

Articles such as "The Loophole That Keeps Precarious Medical Devices in Use" and “AEDs in the Workplace, Benefit or Burden,”  which raise concerns about the safety of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) without recognizing their overarching life-saving value, create confusion and are not in the public’s best interest.

Please Don't Make It Harder to Save Another Life by Reclassifying AEDs

This blog was previously published in The Huffington Post.

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation has launched a petition to the Food and Drug Administration to keep automated external defibrillators (AEDs) readily accessible for victims of sudden unexpected cardiac arrest, rather than increase regulatory hurdles that will hinder their deployment. The FDA is expected to make a decision before the end of the year. Please consider signing the petition today.

Background

Learn CPR and How to Use as AED, SCA Foundation Blog Urges in The Huffington Post

In October, the public, to its credit, tends to think pink -- remembering those who have suffered from breast cancer and celebrating those who have survived.

The fact that October is also National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Month is less well known -- perhaps because there are so few survivors. Sudden cardiac arrest, an unexpected, pulseless condition, strikes more than 1,000 people of all ages outside hospitals every day in the U.S. -- and most victims die.

Let's make October a time to remember those affected by sudden cardiac arrest--and a time to learn how to save a life.

Read more in The Huffington Post.

Heaven’s a Little Closer in a House by the Sea

My personal connection to the cause

I have worked for many years in the field of emergency medical services. People often ask me why I am interested in sudden cardiac arrest. Do I have a personal experience that motivates me?

I  respond that I am simply interested because I recognize the huge potential for saving so many lives cut drastically short by this preventable and treatable condition. And, I have been blessed to know and work with many of the giants in the field.

In addition, I've developed a deep connection with people personally affected by sudden cardiac arrest. I have been blessed to know many survivors of sudden cardiac arrest—and many families who have lost someone dear to them because of this insidious stalker. Sooner or later, I have come to understand, sudden cardiac arrest touches every one of us.

A Father's Day Tribute

I am thinking today of all the fathers who survived sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) because someone close by was ready, willing and able to help. Someone who, by the way, looks a lot like you.

Just last week, I was privileged to hear two fathers--recent SCA survivors--share their experiences during an American Heart Association meeting in Washington, D.C. Eddie Rinehart, of Austin, TX, and Jim Niskanen, of Modesto, CA, were grateful for many things--but most of all, they were grateful to be reunited with their families.

"I am so thankful that my wife is not a widow and I will get to see my girls (Ella and Grace, 3 and 5) grow up," said Eddie.

The Russert Effect

One of my best friends called a few weeks ago and asked, “So how is Tim Russert’s case affecting you and the foundation’s efforts to raise awareness about saving lives?”

I told her that despite the very tragic news of his sudden death, the good news is that people are talking about heart attacks and other causes of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). We spoke about how much media coverage there has been on the topic. 

Then she said something that caught me completely off-guard. “So, do you want to know how it is affecting me?” "Sure," I said, wondering where this was going.

Tim Russert's Legacy

The following letter was published in The New York Times, Tuesday, July 1, 2008.

To the Editor:

Re: From a Prominent Death, Some Painful Truths,” (June 24) 

The day that Tim Russert died, about 500 others suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and most victims died. The 30 or so who survived know they are alive and well today because Good Samaritans at the scene called 911, gave cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and used an automated external defibrillator (AED)—within minutes of their collapse.

Tim’s death may not have been preventable, given his extensive underlying coronary artery disease. But for hundreds of thousands of people who suffer SCA each year in the U.S., death does not have to be a permanent condition. The victim can be brought back to life if someone at the scene takes action. Perhaps the best way to honor Tim’s legacy is to learn CPR and how to use an AED.

How to Save A Life

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), often misunderstood as a massive heart attack, is a treatable condition that does not have to lead to sudden death. When someone suffers SCA, he or she may be fine one minute and then collapse without warning the next. Without immediate intervention, the victim almost always dies. SCA is the leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting more people than breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, AIDS, traffic accidents, house fires and gunshot wounds combined. Only 6-7% survive SCA nationally--but 50% or more could survive. You can make the difference between life and death for someone you care about by knowing what to do and doing it quickly.

STEPS

SCA Survivors: A Growing Tribe

In the time it takes you to read this section, several Americans will die from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Most likely, dropping dead will be the first indication of a serious heart condition. Friends and relatives may be told that their loved one suffered a "massive heart attack." More likely, their loved one died from SCA, a preventable and treatable condition.

If you are surprised, you are not alone. Most people have never heard of SCA, yet it claims more lives each year in the United States than colorectal cancer, auto accidents, breast cancer, prostate cancer, firearms, AIDS and house fires combined.

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Mission & Vision

The mission of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) Foundation is to prevent death and disability from sudden cardiac arrest. The vision of the SCA Foundation is to increase awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and influence attitudinal and behavioral changes that will reduce mortality and morbidity from SCA.

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