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
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