Ironically, it was only a few weeks after the first automated external defibrillators (AEDs) arrived on The University of Findlay campus, that one was pressed into service.
Back in 2000, Cosiano Health Center nurse Karen Yingling and two other bystanders witnessed an elderly man’s collapse in a parking lot near the AMU. They administered CPR and used the AED to restore normal heart rhythm. Their quick action saved the life of the 78-year-old, who was transported to the hospital and made a full recovery.
There are now nine AEDs in various locations on campus. All devices were upgraded in September 2014 and are checked monthly to assure that batteries are charged and they are working properly. According to the American Heart Association, EMS treats nearly 300,000 victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year in the United States and less than eight percent survive. Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.
To understand the effectiveness of an AED, you need to know that cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. It occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic (fibrillation), which causes it to stop beating. Even if CPR is performed, defibrillation with an AED is required to stop the abnormal rhythm and restore it to normal.
Don’t be Intimidated!
“The new AEDs are simple and user-friendly,” said Julia Yingling, RN, director of health services. “You do not need formal training to use one and you cannot cause harm to the victim. The machine will not deliver a shock if it’s not needed.”
Yingling encourages even untrained bystanders to take action in emergency situations. “The quicker you use CPR and the AED, the better chance of survival.”
The AED’s (usually in wall-mounted kits) are self-contained. Everything needed for defibrillation is in the case. The machines actually talk you through the process, telling you where to place pads and when to press the button.
Although Yingling admits that the likelihood of a college student suffering cardiac arrest is small, there are thousands of people attending University events each year. Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time. Many victims appear healthy with no known heart disease or other risk factors.
The University athletic staff, security personnel and individuals at both farms are HeartSaver AED certified. AEDs are available at the following campus locations:
• Croy Gymnasium (north hallway and pool deck)
• FRC (Cardio Center and Information Desk)
• BCHS (main hallway)
• AMU (near the entrance to OilerMart)
• Equestrian Farms (one at each location)
• Security (portable and travels with personnel)
Blanchard Valley Hospital donated four AEDs to The University of Findlay nearly 15 years ago. Today, they are smaller and simpler to operate with no formal training needed.
“People shouldn’t be intimidated,” added Yingling. “Fear of doing something wrong shouldn’t keep you from saving a life.”