The Avera Heart Hospital is holding a life-saving clinic this week and it doesn't involve patients per say. Nancy Naeve Brown has more on the defibrillator clinic and why it's so important to have them checked.
When Gary Schepel was notified about the automated external defibrillator clinic going on at the Avera Heart Hospital, he knew he was going to take advantage of it. Schepel is a nurse at the McCrossan Boys Ranch and because of the sprawling campus and the amount of visitors, staff and boys they have on hand any given day and during there big fundraisers. They have 3 AED's on hand. An AED shocks the heart after you've gone into cardiac arrest. It basically brings you back to life.
"They talk about the 10 minute guide for every minute the heart isn't beating or blood isn't circulating you can lose 10% brain and body function so it's vitally important the earlier you can get the defib into position and ready to go the better chance you have of saving a life. CPR done seldom will revive the heart due to the electrical system that runs the heart so we need the electrical shock to restart it," Gary Schepel said.
But in order to do its job the AED needs to be fully functional at any given moment. That's why the Avera Heart Hospital and Sioux Falls Fire rescue hold yearly defib clinics.
"We are checking the defibs we have out there for batteries and pads. There's absolutely no different than fire extinguishers they have to be serviced. Really sorry part of this if you need a defib and it's been sitting in its case for 6 or 7 years and doesn't work because the battery is dead that's very sad," Jon Soderholm CEO of the Avera Heart Hospital said.
The Avera Heart Hospital sells AED's at no-profit for $1200. They partnered with Fire Rescue in 2003 an effort to get first responders equipped. It started with one, now there are 1,100 + in police cars, fire trucks and ambulances, plus in schools, churches and public buildings.
"There are people who probably wouldn't be around if it weren't for defibs," Soderholm said.
If you come across someone who is in cardiac arrest the first thing to do is call 911. In Sioux Falls the AED's are registered and the operator can even tell you if there is an AED in that building. , if not start CPR immediately and wait for first responders.
"The thing to remember when you put one on is you aren't going to hurt the person. It's designed to only shock 2 particular rhythms, its fail safe. You can't hurt the person, but if you do nothing that person will die. Do something, put the defib on and it will take charge and tell you what to do,"Chief Jim Sideras with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue said.
Gary Schepel knew what to do by bringing in their AED's because one needed new batteries and new patches. And if you are the person who goes in to cardiac arrest at McCrossan's, you'll thank your lucky stars for his due-diligence.
The Avera Heart hospital will be holding AED clinics in Aberdeen at Avera St. Luke's from 10-2. For more information on this go to: http://www.avera.org/heart-hospital/index.aspx
Or if you are interested in buying an AED from the Avera Heart Hospital call 605.977.7000 and ask for Becky.