Thursday, February 28, 2008

Several Rush From Stands to Help Injured Lacrosse Player

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- A Fletcher High School lacrosse player remained hospitalized Thursday afternoon, a day several heroes emerged from the sidelines to help him during some scary moments on the field.

Wednesday's game between Fletcher and the Bolles School changed in an instant when goalie James Hendrick stopped an attempted goal.

Witnesses said Hendrick collapsed on the field after being hit by a ball. According to fire and rescue, the teenager went into cardiac arrest from the blow to his chest.

He stopped the shot. It hit him in the chest, and initially I thought it knocked the wind out of him," said Athletic Director Joe Reynolds.

Eva McAllister, an athletic director for the team, was among those who saw what happened and rushed on the field to help the player.

"I looked back and the goalie was on the ground. At that point we go out and check on him. I thought it was maybe his knee and the position he was in, but when I got out there realized very quickly it was much more than that," McAllister said. "We realized he wasn't breathing very well, and then he quit breathing. We went and got the defibrillator we have the school. At that time we began doing CPR."

"The coach got to him pretty fast, but he did eventually go into cardiac arrest," Reynolds said.

Hendrick was flown by air ambulance to Shands-Jacksonville Medical Center. Channel 4 was told that without the help of some fans who were in the stands, Hendrick might not have made it to the hospital.

"We were definitely very lucky. It was the right place and the right time," McAllister said.

"I'll tell you what, they're the heroes, and I really believe they saved James' live," Reynolds said.

Although Hendrick won't be on the lacrosse field any time soon, Reynolds said he believes the injured goalie will be OK.

Copyright 2008 by All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Grass-Roots AED Group Walks the Corridors of Power

By Robert Davis, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - In the hall outside of her congressional office, Rep. Betty Sutton of Ohio calls fellow Democratic congressman Mike Michaud of Maine over to meet her grass-roots posse.

"Mike," she says, "I have some people I want you to meet."

Sutton is championing a bill that would give matching federal money to provide every U.S. school with an automated external defibrillator (AED), a device that can jump-start a heart that has stopped beating. To help her cause, Sutton has assembled a politically powerful team.

She introduces Michaud to her cohorts — an inspired cardiologist, a teenage girl revived by an AED and a grieving father whose loss has translated into many lives saved — all of them going door to door to pitch other members of Congress.

It's an uphill battle, because her bill, H.R. 4926, is just one of more than 500 items on an Education and Labor subcommittee's to-do list

Michaud shakes hands, smiles and seems genuinely moved as he hears about the teenage lives lost and the others saved that inspired the legislation Sutton introduced.

The bill is named after Josh Miller, a 15-year-old boy from Sutton's hometown of Barberton, Ohio, who died from a cardiac arrest at his high school football game.

After Michaud, who is one of 39 co-sponsors of the bill, says goodbye, it's time for the team to go to a series of scheduled visits.

"All right, go get 'em," Sutton says as she watches them walk away. "Some of the people you are going to meet are already on board. They just don't know it yet"

Over the course of an afternoon, the group will sit on some leather furniture in spacious offices with politicians who are generous with their time. They appear to have endless patience, despite the distractions of ringing phones, blinking e-mails and buzzers calling the members to the floor to cast votes.

The group also will cram into tiny corners of packed offices, talking with young staffers who actually know how to use the defibrillators mounted in the halls.

On each stop there comes a moment when something seems to click for the members of Congress or their staffers. Facial expressions change. They reach for a pen and start writing details.

For some it was when John Acompora told how his 14-year-old son, Louis, died playing lacrosse on Long Island.

For others, it was when 16-year-old Leah Olverd talked about being saved by a defibrillator that had been placed in her school because of Louis' death.

Others appear to be moved by cardiologist Terry Gordon, who quotes both the Bible and the Quran to say that the world can be changed by saving just one life.

For Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the moment comes after he "saves" Olverd with the defibrillator trainer, a device the group brought into his office.

In the middle of the pitch to Scott's staffers over the office's front counter, the congressman walks in.

"We started a grass-roots effort in New York," Acompora explains. "Because of Louis' law, every school in New York must have a defibrillator. There have been 38 lives saved. Leah was No. 25."

Back in Sutton's office later, Olverd cries when she hears Acompora describing the loss of his son.

"That could have been me," she says, had a defibrillator not been on hand when the Bethpage High School sophomore class president collapsed during volleyball tryouts in August 2006. "That could have been my parents."

Toward the end of the day, she says her civics lesson has left her encouraged that the bill will become a law. "It's illogical for them to say no."

Copyright 2008 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sutton Leads National Effort to Place Life-Saving AEDs in America's Schools

Press Conference Outlines Campaign to Build Awareness for H.R. 4926, The Josh Miller HEARTS Act

(Washington, DC - February 14, 2008) - Today, Congresswoman Betty Sutton held a press conference with a coalition of Members of Congress, family members, medical professionals and advocacy organizations to build support for H.R. 4926, the Josh Miller HEARTS Act. This legislation will establish a federal grant program to ensure every elementary and secondary school in the United States can obtain lifesaving automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

The following individuals participated in the press conference: Rep. Betty Sutton (D-OH), Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), Rep. Randy Kuhl(R-NY), Dr. Terry Gordon, the Akron GeneralMedicalCenter cardiologist who led the effort to bring AEDs into Ohio schools, Ken and Jerri Miller from Barberton, Ohio, whose son Josh died of sudden cardiac arrest, John Acompora from Northport, NY, whose son Louis died of cardiac arrest during a lacrosse game, Leah Olverd, from Long Island, NY, whose life was saved with an AED in her school.

Also attending were representatives from the following organizations:American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Heart Rhythm Society, International Association of Firefighters, National Safety Council, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, and Sudden Cardiac Arrest Coalition.

H.R. 4926, the Josh Miller HEARTS Act (Helping Everyone Access Responsive Treatment in Schools) is named in memory of a 15-year-old student from Barberton, Ohio, Sutton's hometown. Although he had never previously demonstrated any symptoms of heart problems, he had a sudden cardiac arrest during a high school football game and collapsed shortly after he left the football field. By the time the paramedics arrived at the scene, it was too late to save Josh. It was a tragic event that might have been prevented with a simple device: an AED.

AEDs are portable, easy-to-use medical devices that have been deployed in many public areas, and for good reason. A defibrillator shock is the single most effective treatment for a sudden cardiac arrest, more than doubling the odds of survival. Because most sudden cardiac arrests result in death within minutes, every second is critical.

The Josh Miller HEARTS Act would establish a grant program to ensure every elementary and secondary school in the country can obtain one of these lifesaving devices. It is based on a similar program recently completed in the state of Ohio that has already resulted in 12 lives saved. Schools are central gathering places in our communities, and AEDs can not only save students, but also staff, parents, and the many visitors who come through schools every day. All too often, the push to place AEDs in schools comes in response to the death of a child at school. However, this legislation offers us an opportunity to enact preventive measures to ensure schools have the most effective tools at their disposal to prevent these tragedies.

Contact: Shannon O'Brien at 202-225-3401 or

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Congress Pushes for Defibrillators in Schools

Representative Betty Sutton, D-Ohio,
left, discusses defibrillator legislation
with John Acompora on Capitol Hill
in Washington on Feb. 13.
By Robert Davis, USA TODAY

Nobody knows today how many people collapse inside schools or at school sporting events from cardiac arrest, but cities and states have begun counting the numbers of lives saved by defibrillators in schools. The devices are required in federal buildings and airliners. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a computerized device that talks users, including children, through lifesaving steps to zap a dying heart back to a normal beat during a cardiac arrest.

In Ohio, 13 lives have been saved with school defibrillators since 2005. In New York, 38 lives have been saved since 2002.

A grass-roots push to put defibrillators into every school — to revive children who suffer cardiac arrest as well as their teachers, custodians and visiting family members — may get a jolt from Congress.

Schools are a logical place to put defibrillators, doctors say, because on any given day as much as 20% of a community's population passes through its schools.

Though many of the people saved by the defibrillators have been adults, the preventable deaths of children have fueled the grass-roots efforts. That includes 15-year-old Josh Miller of Barberton, Ohio, who died during a high school football game on Oct. 27, 2000.

His death is part of what is driving the effort in Congress to pass a bill that would provide federal matching money to help put the $1,000 devices in every school. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Ohio, calls for 3-to-1 federal matching funds to pay for defibrillators in schools.

"It's a great idea," says Peter Moyer, Boston's medical director for the Emergency Medical Services. "It will save lives, it's good for student self-esteem and introduces students to health careers."

Boston — which has one of the best track records of saving victims of cardiac arrest — has had automated external defibrillators in all of its public high schools and some of its elementary schools. Medics teach CPR and defibrillator use at the high schools. Similar efforts are underway in Nashville, where the fire department has trained health teachers to become CPR and AED instructors. The goal is to certify every ninth- and 10th-grader in CPR and AED use. So far, 70 of 132 schools have the devices.

Across Tennessee, there have been 22 cardiac arrests at schools over the past five years, says Mark Meredith, medical director for Nashville's Public Access Defibrillation program. An AED was used to revive six of those people at the school.

Getting a shock from a defibrillator within just a few minutes of cardiac arrest is key to saving these people. The odds of survival decrease 10% for every minute that a victim goes without such a shock, meaning that waiting for the typical EMS response to a 911 call is most often fatal.

"We've got the best paramedics in the world," says Terry Gordon, an Akron cardiologist who pushed for every school in Ohio to have a defibrillator in the wake of Miller's death. "But they may be on another call or stuck in traffic, and they just can't get there fast enough."

Copyright 2008 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
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