An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart’s rhythm and, if needed, sends an electric shock to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs assist people in providing life-saving help to those who suffer sudden cardiac arrest (SCA)—a condition in which the heart unexpectedly stops beating and therefore stops blood from flowing to the brain and other vital organs.
When a person suffers from SCA, it is imperative that he or she receives treatment within minutes. Treatment with an AED increases the odds of survival.
Torrance Memorial Medical Center sponsors a program designed specifically to bring AEDs into the community. Susan Robinson, RN, BSN, is the coordinator for the Public Access Defibrillation Program at Torrance Memorial. Robinson and the program provide physician oversight to public places that wish to have an AED on-site for the welfare of the community.
“AEDs are user-friendly,” explains Robinson. “A study was conducted with a group of sixth-graders and dummy dolls. They were given no training and were told to only read the instructions and use the AED on the dummy. They did it successfully!”
Anyone can have an AED and some places are required to have them. Any group that wants an AED can get help with the guidelines and laws that govern owning one.
Grant Livornese, a 2013 graduate of Mira Costa High School, led the charge to have AEDs put in place at his varsity baseball field and at Big Marine Baseball Field in Manhattan Beach.
“We knew for a while that getting hit in the chest with a baseball sometimes caused cardiac arrest,” says Livornese. “I was concerned for the safety of the players on our teams because there was no AED at the Little League field.”
To date, Torrance Memorial’s Public Access Defibrillator Program has nearly 160 units in place throughout our South Bay community.