Misplaced AED

Life Lost Contributed by Misplaced AED with Flat Batteries

The scene was replayed so many times on national television that it is burned into memory: Wes Leonard, the star high school basketball player, was lifted into the air by his teammates after making a game-winning shot to give Fennville an undefeated season. But suddenly, Wes slipped out of their arms and suffered cardiac arrest.

Wes Leonard just before his collapse

But here is the part that has been lost: At first, nobody realized what was happening, and there were a series of mistakes.

“Everybody thought he was dehydrated or overheated,” said Fennville Superintendent Dirk Weeldreyer.

Somebody went to get ice and cold cloths.

Wes gasped for air, which some thought was a good sign. But that is actually a warning sign, commonly seen in cardiac arrest. “That led to the confusion,” Weeldreyer said. “People didn’t recognize what was happening.” Jocelyn screamed for the AED that she thought was on the wall. “I yelled for it because that’s what you are trained to do,” she says.

Jocelyn was trained in CPR. She had taught choir for six years at Fennville High in the music room across the hall from the gym. Day after day, year after year, she walked down the hallway past an AED fixed to the wall. She never noticed that it had been taken down.

“For every minute that the heart is stopped, it’s 10% less likely that you will get the heart restarted,” Jocelyn says. “So after 10 minutes, you don’t have much of a chance.”

Fennville principal Amber Lugten found the machine in a storage room and brought it out for Wes, 16. But the battery was dead. Ten minutes passed, and any hope of saving him was gone. Big Wes, the handsome, small-town hero, was dead.

“You are mad,” Jocelyn Leonard says. “There is no one to blame. I’ve never blamed anyone. I’m just so sad about it. I’m sad that it’s a $1,500 fix.”

Lugten said the AED was taken down because kids would open the case as a prank, which caused a loud, distracting alarm. “We made a very poor decision to take it down,” she said.

There was a working AED in a nearby building, but nobody thought to get it. “It probably would have taken three or four minutes to run there and get it,” Weeldreyer said. “That’s why we are trying to teach everybody these warning signs.”

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Wednesday, January 25th, 2012 Event No Comments

Misplaced AED Contributes to Family’s Loss

The daughter of a 55- year old man who suffered a fatal heart attack at an arena in the Abitibi just before Christmas says the family will not pursue the case.

Denis Letourneau collapsed during an old timers hockey game.

It turns out the defibrillator that normally hangs on a wall near the rink was missing.

It was only found much later in the office of the arena manager who apparently removed it because of renovation work.

Annie Letourneau says her father had just recently been given a clean bill of health by his doctor and there was no indication of heart disease.

My opinion : Just because your venue has installed an AED does not exclude you from any liability. Having a misplaced, missing or stolen AED is just as bad as not having any AED at all.

We provide consultancy for risk management in the view of the organisation installing AEDs on their premises. With better risk management comes better protection for both the rescuer and victim.

Contact us at enquiry@liferesus.com.

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Saturday, January 7th, 2012 Comment, Event No Comments