AED – A Happy Ending or Another Tragedy?

By Doyice Cotten

“The Davis School District and local school administrators have acted upon the recommendations of our department to place (defibrillators) within this school. The heroic efforts of a well-trained staff and a good maintenance program in keeping the batteries ready to go in this (defibrillator) clearly made a difference here today.”

Layton Fire Department spokesman Doug Bitton


447100146_0cde14c50e_zAccording to, 17 year-old Connor Moss is alive today thanks to two women who knew what to do in an emergency and the availability of a defibrillator. In April, Moss had just finished weight training with his high school football team and went into a hallway to cool off. There he collapsed and lost consciousness.

His teammates called the trainer, Northridge High fitness trainer Leigh Otis who teaches EMS at the school. Otis and an unnamed student fitness trainer from Weber State University administered CPR and applied the automated electronic defibrillator. They were successful in restoring Moss’s heart beat.

Moss regained consciousness in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. The doctor verified that his heart had stopped and that the two women did in fact save his life. He added that “… if they hadn’t been there with the equipment and knowledge they had, they said he probably would have died.”

Risk Management Take-Away

This author has repeatedly urged management of entities that involve vigorous physical activities to have one or more automated electronic defibrillators on hand. Examples of such facilities include all schools, all athletic programs, local recreation departments and centers, athletic stadia, tennis centers, golf courses, health clubs, and many more sites that are too numerous to name here.

Will the emergency at your facility have a happy ending like this one – or will it end in tragedy? These 3 Keys will determine which:

  • Availability of an AED
  • Fresh batteries in the AED
  • Someone with the presence of mind to use the AED

[I almost said “someone trained to use the AED,” but one does not have to be trained to use an AED to use it successfully – one needs only to be able to read and follow simple directions on the unit. Fortunately, in this situation, both were present: someone with both the presence of mind and the training to operate the unit.] One other note, sites having AEDs should have staff trained in their use.

Photo Credit: Thanks to Olemlswebs at Flickr.