Why are AEDs being mandated and required or “expected” as a standard of care in many places?
We are talking about the nation’s leading killer; killing more people than strokes, AIDS and breast cancer in the US annually. Each year, more than 300,000 Americans experience sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) outside of a hospital. SCA affects people of all ages and with many types of heart problems, but occurs most commonly in adults with coronary artery disease, and so it will only become more common as America ages.
On average in the U.S., just 6.4% of SCA victims survive. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator (AED) take chances of survival to over 65%. In fact, early defibrillation (within 2-4 minutes ideally) with CPR is the only way to restore the SCA victim’s heart rhythm to normal. For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chances of survival decrease by around 10%. However, there are not enough AEDs and persons trained in using AEDs and performing CPR to provide this life-saving treatment, resulting in lost opportunities to save more lives. Tragically, 64% of Americans have never even seen an AED. AED PROGRAMS CAN AND DO IMPROVE SURVIVAL RATES. Communities with comprehensive AED programs that include training of anticipated rescuers in both CPR and AED use have achieved survival rates of 65 percent or higher. Making AEDs more available to lay responders trained in their use saves lives; remember that these are proven to be easy to use and fail-proof FDA approved public use devices.
Why should I be a champion for AEDs? Can’t we just call 911?
The national average for EMS response in the US is 8-10 minutes. It is recommended (for best chances of survival) AEDs be used early on and ideally within 2-4 minutes. There is a very good chance emergency medical services (EMS) cannot respond fast enough to save someone in cardiac arrest, particularly in congested urban areas, high-rise buildings, in remote rural areas, or large facilities. Besides traffic, consider the time needed to make it through building security or in a crowded shopping mall with multiple escalators and all the way to a victim, for example.
“What constitutes gross negligence isn’t spelled out in the law. Per product liability attorneys specializing in AED case law, organizations that have heavy traffic are more at risk if they fail to comply with “standards to provide care” and don’t have an AED at all. Any facility manager, HR manager or a safety, EHS director at any large or high traffic facility should consider ramifications of not having at least one on premises in the event of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). It is most likely their own job they are putting on the line and they should argue hard for them. As a value-add for those directors whom can’t get top down management on board and funding is an obstacle, they should get hard copy evidence on file from their management if they can not get approval for purchase. The old “CYA” policy!
If you would like to see examples of current AED case law and how settlements and lawsuits have fallen, please contact our AED LAW experts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-473-1777.
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