April 12, 2011
Lessons learned from real-life emergencies
IM Sports/Fitness/Recreation Coordinator and Facility Manager
Penn State Harrisburg
“Someone’s collapsed in the racquetball courts!” These are words that all fitness facility staff dread, but ones for which they must be prepared. Performing life-saving techniques is something that one prepares for through yearly CPR/AED certification, but hopes never to have to execute. Results of life-saving efforts are rather clear-cut….. life or death. There is no room for ambiguity. Regardless of the outcome however, much can be learned from emergency situations and response procedures that were implemented from beginning to end. Despite the plethora of CPR/AED/First Aid training that most fitness facility directors and staff attend, nothing quite prepares one for the actual act of performing life-saving procedures.
April 07, 2011
Ian McGregor, Ph.D.
McGregor & Associates
Background: Sudden Cardiac Arrest and AED’s
- Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is one of the leading causes of death in North America. It strikes more that 200,000 Americans each year, nearly one death every two minutes.
- SCA is caused by ventricular fibrillation, a condition in which the heart’s electrical impulses suddenly become chaotic, causing the heart to cease pumping blood effectively. Many victims of SCA have no prior symptoms. SCA can strike anyone at any time. Victims of SCA will quickly loose consciousness, often without warning, and unless there is quick intervention, death will occur within a few minutes.
- SCA is treatable using an AED (Automated External Defibrillator).
April 07, 2011
Katharine M. Nohr, Esq.
Miyagi Nohr & Myhre, Honolulu
Question: If a guy keels over, apparently from a heart attack, and I use the athletic facilities’ AED in an attempt to save the guy’s life, and he dies anyway, can his estate sue me?
Answer: Anyone can sue.
The frustrating thing is that this is always the answer when addressing the question of whether someone can sue in the United States. The important question is whether you will likely be held liable for your actions or omissions. Even more frustrating is sorting out the state of the law regarding AED. The good news is that you are probably primarily concerned about the state in which your facility is located and so, with some diligent research, you can find out what your state’s law is as of this date. Remember, state laws are always in flux as your state legislature meets each year and so you will have to check whether any new AED bills have been passed, and if so, when they take effect. The National Center for Early Defibrillation has a handy AED Legislative Table that was last updated in the Spring of 2005, which can be reviewed by looking at their website at www.early-defib.org.
April 07, 2011
Wallace Eddy and Carrie Tupper
Campus Recreation Services
University of Maryland (College Park)
Experience becomes learning when it is reflected upon, considered in light of prior learning, and actively applied to future experiences (Kolb, 1984). At the University of Maryland we have had several experiences involving cardiac arrest. What has been disheartening to staff who are responsible for teaching CPR/AED skills to our professional and student staff is that none of the victims were able to be revived. A careful process of incident review was conducted after each incident, including discussion of CPR/AED protocol followed and immediate documentation of activity.
April 07, 2011
James Mellein and Bill Callender
Rec Sports, Oregon State University
This story is not about statistics, surveys, research or the latest protocol on lifesaving techniques. This is about how one decision can touch many lives.
A well known patron of many years (we’ll call him Pete), exercised regularly in our facility. Many staff knew him by name and looked forward to seeing him each day. On March 14, 2006 at approximately 2:00pm, Pete suddenly collapsed while exercising on a cardiovascular machine. The ventricular fibrillation during Pete’s cardiac arrest laid him unconscious and unresponsive.
April 05, 2011
Associate Director, Operations
Colorado State University
Developing an effective AED plan requires identifying and addressing several key issues. The following framework, adapted from the university-wide process we used at Colorado State, will help you develop a comprehensive AED plan specific to your department. Visit http://www.ehs.colostate.edu and click on the jumping heart for more information on Colorado State’s program.
The first critical step is to establish a broad-based committee whose primary task is to develop and implement the AED plan. In addition to Campus Recreation department staff, consider including other university personnel (e.g. Environmental Health Services, Athletics, Security, Risk Management, University Legal Office), and off-campus experts.