Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Luckily he was playing in a local, elementary school because New York State mandates AEDs in schools.

Tough to find an AED in a hotel

Posted at: 11/10/2011 3:40 PM
Updated at: 11/10/2011 6:38 PM
By: Benita Zahn
At 72 Bill Johnson is probably busier than people 20 years his junior. Along with the house hold chores he works part time, hits the golf ball and indulges in his passion - playing basketball.
But in March 2011 a trip down the hardwood almost ended his life. As he explains, "the second time down the court, black. Just completely black. No warning, no illness no dizziness. Black."
Bill's heart stopped beating. Luckily he was playing in a local, elementary school because New York State mandates schools have AED-s - Automated external defibrillators.

"Without it I wouldn't be talking to you" he says. The shock administered by the AED along with CPR kept him alive long enough for the EMT'S to take over. But if he'd suffered that attack while at a hotel, odds are, he'd have been out of luck.

"You know going into a hotel there's CPR training, there's fire extinguishers, there's 9-1-1" Jan Marie Chesterton, President of the NYS Hospitality and Tourism association explains. But not necessarily an AED.
New York law mandates an AED  be available in public places that can host groups of 1,000 or more. So unless a hotel has a grand ballroom, they probably won't have an AED.
Chesterton says there are a host of reasons including cost and the challenge to have enough staffers trained as turnover is high in the hotel industry, something local hotelier Michael Hoffman knows first hand.

"They make us do so many things that sometimes make sense or don't make sense you can't always do the things you'd like to do and it does come down to money for a lot of hoteliers," said Hoffman.
Even though the price has come down in recent years, AEDS can still cost a $1,000 or more. There's also worry about liability, the no good deed goes unpunished philosophy.
"We talked about it a year ago. We got scared off. I didn't know the good Samaritan law was passed," said Hoffman.
That's right. New York took the liability worry out of the equation earlier this year by expanding the state's Good Samaritan Law:  basically, absolving anyone who, in good faith teaches the use of or uses an AED to save a life.
The American Heart Association encourages use of AED's and Julianne Hart of the AHA says, "but I think since AED's have become much easier to use, good Samaritan laws have been strengthened to cover the liability concerns that really some of those barriers have been eliminated."

Now the challenge facing the American Heart Association is to get the word out and reinforce the message that AED's are not only easy to use, they're basically fool proof as the machine prompts you along.

Bottom line, the device won't deliver a shock unless it's needed. All information those in the hotel industry need to hear.
"I sit here and look you square in the face," said Hoffman. "And I don't know why we don't have 'em."

No one's suggesting another law. As Hoffman and Chesteron point out bed and breakfasts handle a much smaller clientele than hotel's like Hoffman's Homeward Suites on Wolf Road -- but they acknowledge everyone needs greater awareness of the life saving potential of these self contained units.
And as for Bill Johnson, thanks to an AED he may get an early Christmas wish. "I want to play hoops again," said Johnson.
The American Heart Association says 295,000 Americans suffer sudden cardiac arrest every year outside of a hospital.
Quick use of an AED along with C.P.R. greatly increase survival odds.
For more information on how to learn these skills click the American Heart Association.

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