Public Access and Usage of AEDs
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Essay by: ISP108   

As I approached the metro station, I noticed an old gentleman engaged in a heated discussion with a couple of teenagers. Just as I was about to pass this scene, I saw the older gentleman clutch his chest then reach for his left arm as he fell to his knees, keeling over as he hit the ground. He apparently, at first glance, was experiencing a myocardial infarction (MI). In a situation such as this, if there were an automated external defibrillator (AED) accessible to the public, this man’s chances for survival could quite possibly be greatly increased.

According to the article Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices published by the American Heart Association, “Immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation, with an automated external defibrillator (AED), can more than double a victim’s chance of survival. In fact, early defibrillation, along with CPR, is the only way to restore the victim’s heart rhythm to normal in a lot of cases of cardiac arrest. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, however, the chances of survival decrease by 7–10% (American Heart Association, 2013).” The chance of a passerby in a crowded environment that has the knowledge and training to change the course of a stranger’s life exists. Within the public there are tens of thousands of individuals who have this training who are not health care providers, life guards, shift supervisors, etc. Although, it may not be mandated by law, these people make up our populous.

Another article I found put out by the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stated that, “Treatment of witnessed ventricular fibrillation with immediate defibrillation can result in greater than 90 percent survival (U.S. Deapartment of Labor 2001).”

The point is that, an AED is an effective tool within the right scenario. I believe that we would see an increase in the survival rates of a MI in the public setting if these systems were to be put in place for the public’s use. If sites were selected for the installation of an AED based on the amount of foot traffic per hour there is a high probability that in the case of an event there would be a person(s) present that obtain the proper training and knowledge of its usage. It would also be likely that this person(s) be trained in CPR as well. I only see benefits from the installation of these devices within the public domain. The current times we face in this country with ever changing dynamics throughout the world (both political and social) calls for more trained personnel in the usage of AED’s. With the help of OSHA in training AED usage and Good Samaritan’s that are willing to step in when needed only makes us that much better to handle emergent situations as a whole.

Cardiac arrest and automated external defibrillators (AEDs). (2001). U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration.  Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/dts/tib/tib_data/tib20011217.pdf
Facts: Every second counts: Rural and community access to emergency devices. (2013). American Heart Association. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@adv/documents/downloadable/ucm_301646.pdf

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