A Letter to Members of the Pennsylvania State Senate
Re: Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation support for PA SB 521 (Killion)
The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, a national nonprofit organization based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, fully supports Senate Bill 521, which calls for CPR education in Pennsylvania schools.
Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. SCA, the third leading cause of death in the U.S., affects 356,000 people each year, including at least 7,000 youth. Unfortunately, only one victim in 10 survives, but survival rates double or triple when victims receive immediate CPR.
I understand that the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) opposes this legislation. While I respect PSEA concerns, I believe they pale in comparison to the immeasurable benefits of creating a new generation of lifesavers in Pennsylvania.
As a resident of Maryland—one of the 38 states (plus the District of Columbia) that has made CPR education mandatory for high school students—I believe it is time for Pennsylvania to join the rest of the nation in ensuring that students learn the basic lifesaving skills of CPR.
CPR can make the difference between life and death. I should know. As a sudden cardiac arrest survivor, physician, and Chairman of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation Board of Directors, I urge you to vote in favor of PA SB 521. Undoubtedly your vote in favor of this legislation will help save untold lives that would otherwise be lost.
Henry Jampel, MD, MHS, Professor, Johns Hopkins University
Chairman, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation Board of Directors
P.S. A recent case at Slippery Rock University highlights the importance of immediate CPR. Skills learned in high school are life skills that will undoubtedly help save many lives in the future.