Letters for Thursday, November 2, 2017

AEDs will saved lives

This is to congratulate and thank Dr. Jeff Goodman, Mrs. Charlene Dyer, and the North Shore Rotary for putting up AEDs (aka Automatic External Defibrillators) at key locations around Kauai. Most recently one was put up in the county government complex, right outside the Driver’s License and Planning Department area.

How might this help Kauai? The answer is that when someone collapses from a heart attack and associated arrhythmia, seconds count in regards to whether or not that person will survive.

The first step in the so-called chain of survival is to call 911. The second step is to determine whether or not the victim has a pulse. The third step is to start excellent CPR if there is no pulse. And the fourth step is to defibrillate the victim (with an AED) just as soon as possible, assuming the AED says “shock advised.”

Certainly there is some expertise and training involved with steps 2, 3, and 4, and ideally more and more people in our island community will become trained in these steps. You can call the American Red Cross at 245-4919 for information on when and where to get training.

In Seattle, which has made a great effort to train up the local population, their survival statistics are dramatically better than is the case in other less-akamai communities.

Many of us are already trained. A firefighter or a lifeguard or a paramedic or a doctor or a nurse might be getting his or her driver’s license, or might be getting house plans scrutinized, when someone might collapse in the busy vicinity. He or she is, by job description, an expert at steps 2, 3, & 4 and with a defibrillator (AED) now immediately available — this device might make the difference between life and death.

Thank you again to those who are pushing this great community effort forward.

Monty Downs, M.D., Kauai

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