Posted on 06/14/2008

June 14, 2008­–PITTSBURGH–We at the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation express our heartfelt sympathy to the family of Tim Russert, who died suddenly yesterday afternoon in the NBC studios. Tim could not be resuscitated despite the fact than an intern provided cardiopulmonary resusciation (CPR) and D.C. EMS arrived quickly and treated Russert with a defibrillator.

The tragedy of this profound loss to the Russert family and his extensive network of friends and colleagues in journalism and politics would be all the more tragic if it turns out that NBC did not have an automated external defibrillator (AED) on site--or even worse had one, but somehow neglected to find or use it.

On the other hand, Tim’s death may not have been preventable, given his extensive underlying coronary artery disease.

But for hundreds of thousands of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest every year, there is no underlying heart disease, and CPR, a shock from an AED and effective emergency care can give them another chance at life. That’s why the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation supports universal training in CPR and having AED programs in all public places.”

“Perhaps some good can come from this terrible tragedy, said Mary Newman, SCA Foundation president, “If the public begins to understand that sudden cardiac arrest is a life or death situation--but death does not have to be the victor. For so many victims, life can be restored if someone gives CPR and finds and uses an AED within three to five minutes of collapse.”