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Defibrillators needed

Last week at JFK airport, a man collapsed from cardiac arrest and two bystanders rushed to save him using CPR. Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., especially among people over 40. Defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator (AED) is the only known therapy to treat an individual in cardiac arrest.
According to the American Heart Association, for every minute that passes without defibrillation, a victim’s chance of survival decreases by 7 – 10 percent. About 250,000 people die each year from cardiac arrest – over 600 a day. In 2001, one of those 250,000 people was my husband. When he went into cardiac arrest at his health club, there was no AED on site.
We must expand the availability of AEDs. The rescue at JFK airport last week highlighted the need for a clear protocol for laypeople to have access to an AED. Those heroes stated that they weren’t sure where the AED was located in the airport. This victim was lucky in that every airport is required to have an AED on site. In other parts of our city, there is no such guarantee that a victim could be similarly rescued.
We need to call upon our city’s decision makers to help improve our access to AEDs across the boroughs and develop a plan so that we can have more laypeople acting as heroes and saving lives.

Wendy Mono, American Heart Association Volunteer
Forest Hills

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