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Hi - I posted this in CMT forums also where it could eventually get lost in the "what's your favorite color" posts... and it's just so important (to me...) I thought perhaps this group might be interested in spreading the word on the importance of AEDs and petitioning your government officials on why we needs a mandate to have them in schools, etc.
Here's my story:
It's taken me a while to write this because I've been so shaken up by it, but I feel I must spread the word on the importance of these devices to as many people as possible.... I ask that you PLEASE READ ALL THE WAY DOWN!
2 weekend's ago, my family were all together in NY to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of my 53 year old brother's twin boys. A few months prior my brother had passed a stress test, he is in otherwise good physical shape, doesn't smoke, drinks socially on occasion, and coaches and plays sports on a regular basis. You would consider him a picture of health if you met him.
While the party was in full swing, without any warning, he collapsed in cardiac arrest on the dance floor. There was no clutching of the heart, sudden dizziness or any other warning. He just went down. Two of his guests, life long friends, happened to be cardiologists and immediately started to perform CPR and search for a pulse. He had no pulse and as they frantically continued to perform CPR and 9-1-1 was called, another friend, an oral surgeon who had lost his 9-year old son 5 years ago to cardiac arrest, called out for the country club to get their AED device, an automated external defibrillator, which was then used to administer a shock that restarted my brother's heart and saved his life. All of this transpired within a 2 minute period with 300 people, including 100 children (including his own) watching. Everyone was stunned - it all happened incredibly fast.
To say this was one of the scariest moments of my life would be an understatement. His survival is nothing short of a miracle because all of the elements for his survival were in place. Had this happened a few hours later, he might have been in bed after an exhilirating evening of fun and celebration and simply died tragically in his sleep. Had the doctor's not been there, the other guests may have been too shocked to have been able to perform the CPR needed to keep the blood flow necessary to have prevented brain damage. But most important, Had the AED device not been available at the Country Club to get his heart started again, my brother would not have survived, period.
When a person goes into Sudden Cardiac Arrest, it is literally a race against time to deliver the shock to the heart that will restore the rhythm back to the heart and get it beating again. CPR alone will not get the heart started back into rhythm - it needs a shock to do that. If more than 4 minutes pass, there is little chance for survival. The clock starts the moment the patient collapses, not from the time 9-1-1 is called... which is where the importance of having AED's is so crucial to survival.
I ask that you all take a moment and read the article I included in this post, which is about my brother's story and the doctor who saved him. The doctor has saved 2 lives with AEDs in the last 3 years. Remember, this is the same man who lost his young 9-year old son. He and his wife have started a foundation in memory of their son to make AEDs available to youth sports leagues and raise awareness of how important the need is for them to be mandatory in schools and venues where large crowds gather. They have turned their personal loss into hope that another family can possibly avoid the same tragedy, and if you read the website, you will see that the devices in place have already made that possible!
I am making this my mission as well. I cannot tell you how many people I have shared this story with since I have returned from NY, who have never heard of AEDs. I am working with other Floridians to make AEDs mandatory in Florida schools and large venues such as stadiums, convention centers, golf courses, etc. I am also encouraging people EVERYWHERE to contact their local American Red Cross or Heart Association chapters for CPR/AED certification classes. They are generally 4 hours long and cost under $40. That's less than $10/hour to potentially be able to save a life - which is priceless.
Thank for indulging me. I hope you've read all the way to this point, and I hope you'll explore more information about and outlets about AEDs in your area. If they are not yet mandatory in schools in your state, please lobby your representatives in congress to make them so.
In good health,
Newsday Article: http://mobile.newsday.com/inf/infomo?site=newsday&view=page7&feed:a=newsday_5min&feed:c=longisland&feed:i=1.1745293
Robbie Levine Foundation: http://www.robbielevinefoundation.org/script/index.php
Last Edited on: 2/14/10 9:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1