By Doyice Cotten
On January 13, 2017, the Governor of Massachusetts signed into law Bill S.2449 mandating automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in Massachusetts schools. The law provides that AEDs be in all public schools in the state and that at least one staff member be trained in its use. An AED also must be available for use at any school-sponsored athletic event.
This life saving action has been a long time in coming. The legislation was first introduced ten years ago, but failed to get the votes necessary for passage. Since then, it has been reintroduced in every session of the legislature. But after tireless lobbying, the bill has finally been enacted into law.
It is estimated that there are approximately 300,000 Americans of all ages who die from sudden cardiac death. AEDs have been shown to be effective in saving lives. In one study reported in the Johns Hopkins Medicine site, it was reported that 36% of sudden cardiac arrest victims who received a shock by an AED survived. In another study it was found that when a victim is treated by EMS, the survival rate was 10% while those treated by a bystander while waiting for EMS had a 40% survival rating — the key factor being how soon the shock is administered. So having AEDs in public places, including schools, makes sense. The big question is why does it take ten years or more to get the AEDs into these places?
Photo Credit: Thanks to Leon Brocard at Flickr.