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Hospital donates AEDs to local fire departments

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, October 6, 2012

{{{*}}}Wise Regional Health System in Decatur made a life-saving donation to a pair of local fire departments last month.

The hospital gave an automated external defibrillator to each the Alvord and Slidell fire departments.

“This is one of those devices that if you need it, you need it now, and the quicker the better,” Alvord Fire Chief Sam Hahn said. “So with this in hand, when we go on a call and we need it, that can make the difference between life and death.”

Within days of the donation, the Alvord department used the device on a patient experiencing sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), when the heart abruptly and unexpectedly ceases to function. According to the Heart Rhythm Society, it is an “electrical problem” caused by a heart rhythm disorder called ventricular fibrillation (VF), and the heart is no longer able to pump blood to the rest of the body.

AEDs are portable devices that deliver an electrical charge and automatically diagnose the heart rhythm and determine if a shock is needed. The device will only administer the pre-set electrical charge if a fatal arrhythmia is detected.

“A sudden cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, at any time – at a football game, at the grocery store,” said Lacretia Miles, director of cardiovascular services at Wise Regional. “It’s imperative that our first responders in the community have access to these life-saving devices.”

Last year, the hospital’s director of radiology, John Neal, who also serves as the fire chief at Paradise, requested the donation of an AED for the department’s rescue truck.

“He emphasized the importance of having an updated one,” said Shannon Puphal, Wise Regional marketing and communications director. “The hospital thought it was a great idea and decided to support it. This year, they budgeted for the donation of two, and they hope to continue to donate a couple a year in the future.”

For more information, contact Puphal at (940) 626-2786 or email spuphal@wiseregional.com.

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