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Palo Alto to install dozens of defibrillators

Original post made on Apr 16, 2013

A network of defibrillators -- devices that restore regular heart rhythm to victims of cardiac arrest -- will soon be installed at police cars, parks, community centers, and other public facilities throughout Palo Alto.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, April 15, 2013, 11:42 PM

Comments (14)

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Posted by Another-Waste-Of-Money
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2013 at 4:42 am

What a waste of money. There has been no evidence that people are dying in great numbers because cardiac arrest that has not been attended to by Emergency Response.

While having these devices in Police vehicles is not a bad idea, there has been no evidence that Palo Altans have died in great numbers because of a failure of First Response to arrive quickly enough to save them.

In fact, there is virtually no data in the public domain that deals with how many people are dead by the time First Responders arrive on the scene vs the number after the arrival of First Response and transport to the nearest hospital.

There is a certain amount of training that is needed to use a defibrillators, and they need to be checked periodically for servicability. It would not be a surprise to find that within a short period after these devices are installed, that a good percentage of the devices will be unservicable.

The propensity to waste time and money in this town is unending.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2013 at 10:10 am

Great news! Last month, I posted the attached on the old thread asking about the status of putting AEDs in our schools. My sister's family is shocked that we don't have even one of these available, where they have had them deployed at all their school sites for years. The athletic trainers are required to carry them with their gear when they are covering any athletic events. These machines DO help to save lives!

>>Posted by parent, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Mar 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm

What is the status of this program for PAUSD?

My brother-in-law is an athletic trainer at a big high school on the east coast. Just this last week, he was called to a PE class where a student had collapsed and had no heartbeat. With CPR and an AED, he was able to resuscitate the student after an excruciating amount of time. It took another 30 minutes after the medical team arrived to get him stable enough just for transport back to the Children's Hospital. (The student is now stable and undergoing care.)

We really should have these sprinkled around the middle/high school campuses. Our campuses are so broken up and sprawling that getting care when and where it's needed is not trivial.

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Posted by Citizen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2013 at 10:45 am

Installing defibrillators is a great idea. That statistic about every minute of delay decreasing the victim's chance of survival by 7 to 10 percent is sobering -- how long will it take a paramedic to arrive and start care? But, many people are afraid to use them, or they wait until someone trained in their use can be found. The defibrillators are automatic, so all that's needed is to get the public to use them. Put a large poster next to each defibrillator to encourage people to just use the machines. A defibrillator that isn't used is worthless.

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Posted by One of the lucky ones
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 16, 2013 at 10:49 am

It's about time! Thank you Racing Hearts for taking this on!

@Another Waste of Money: The national survival rate for out of hospital cardiac arrests is 6%. I know this because my husband was one of the lucky ones. He suffered a cardiac arrest while sitting at his desk. His place of employment did not have AED's because they were afraid of the "liability". Luckily co-workers provided CPR until the EMTs arrived and shocked his heart twice with the AED to get it going again. Needless to say, my husband's employer has now installed AEDs and provided CPR and AED training to all of its employees and their family members who want it. The AEDs are simple to use and virtually idiot-proof.

While Palo Altans may not have been dying "in great numbers" as a result of lack of access to an AED, I know that saving ONE life is worth it.

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Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 16, 2013 at 10:51 am

Racing Hearts is doing great work in Advocating for defibrillators in public places. The one life that is saved may just be a statistic until it is your child or your spouse. This is important work and money well spent. A little awareness is going a long way.

I hope others will join Racing Hearts and work towards greater placement of defibrillators. A very efficient and worthwhile mission.

Timothy Gray

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Posted by Josh
a resident of another community
on Apr 16, 2013 at 11:16 am

I had noticed the defibrillator at my gym for years because it was right by the water fountain. I asked the front desk one day if it had ever been used? The answer was no. Well that day came and I'm happy to say with CPR and the AED, that person is alive and doing well.

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Posted by Floyd
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 16, 2013 at 11:52 am

I have a home model HEART START given to me by one of my children.
The only maintenance is the battery replacement about every three- five years.
It is easy to use: just pull the handle and it gives audio einstructions. Not complicated at all.
One saved life is worth
at least $97,000.

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Posted by Retired surgeon
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Seems like a small price to pay if you are the one who needs and might benefit from it.

Web Link

Survival rates for individuals with ventricular fibrillation treated by AEDs have been reported between 0% and 31%. Comparatively, the survival rates for performing basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) alone are reported between 0% and 6%. Theoretically, even more lives could be saved if targeted members of the general public could obtain early access to and have training in the use of AEDs and CPR. Unfortunately, only about 10-15% of cardiac arrests occur in a public place and even fewer are witnessed.[2]

2. Weisfeldt ML, Sitlani CM, Ornato JP, Rea T, Aufderheide TP, Davis D, et al. Survival after application of automatic external defibrillators before arrival of the emergency medical system: evaluation in the resuscitation outcomes consortium population of 21 million. J Am Coll Cardiol. Apr 20 2010;55(16):1713-20.
(The lead author, Dr. Myron Weisfeldt, is the William Osler Professor & Chairman of the Dept of Medicine at Johns Hopkins)

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Posted by Michele
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I also disagree with Another-Waste-Of-Money. AEDs, like vaccines and statin drugs, are shaping up to be a most cost-effective public health intervention. They can save a lot of lives for not very much money.

Here's what the American Heart Association says:

The AHA strongly advocates that all EMS first-response vehicles and ambulances be equipped with an AED or another defibrillation device (semiautomatic or manual defibrillator). The AHA also supports placing AEDs in targeted public areas such as sports arenas, gated communities, office complexes, doctor's offices, shopping malls, etc.

AHA also recommends that placement of AEDs in the community be coordinated with local emergency responders as part of an overall community defibrillation program (for tracking and maintenance support). You can search this information yourself at More information is available via Medline Plus, the National Library of Medicine's consumer-level database (Web Link.

Although CPR training is recommended, these devices are easy enough to use by people who haven't undergone CPR training. (It's just that it's nice to be familiarized with the machine *before someone is fibrillating.)

In summary: AEDs deliver great bang for the buck, Palo Alto can afford to pay for them, and if it is your loved one who might otherwise die without the help of an AED, making them widely available is a no-brainer.

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Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm

A "good" place to have a cardiac arrest is in a Las Vegas casino. They have surveillance cameras and AED's. So they can tell exactly how soon after a cardiac arrest the help arrives, the patient is defibrillated, etc.

The survival rate (with pretty much full neurological recovery--because otherwise you and your family might be better off is CPR a total failure) is about 50%.

But what happens in Vegas, in this case, does stay in Vegas.

Malls, theatres, events, etc., all should have these available. For the cost they can save lives.

I just wish the compression to breathing ratio was still 5 to one could retrofit the Doors Song Five to One as

Five to One Baby
One to Five
Very few here make it through alive
You compress yours baby,
I'll bag mine
Defibrillate 'em one more time
Defibrillate 'em one more time

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Posted by Jamie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm


It's true - sometimes AEDs need to be serviced - just like fire hydrants, fire extinguishers, and all the medical /emergency equipment in hospitals, ambulances and fire trucks. Infrastructure has it's costs. AED's are very inexpensive and highly effective. That's why you can find them at all the ranger stations in every national park in the US and in Canada. Even in the remote Northwest Territories. They save lives.

I hope you are never in need of any of the above services, and that you die in peacefully in your sleep at age 100. I also hope that, like the Grinch, something happens in your life that allows your heart to grow. Whoville is lovely. No reason to be so mad.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Today, at Byxbee park I witnessed a young man get resuscitated by a park ranger using one of these devices. I was amazed at the speed and professionalism of the ranger and the paramedics, but with CPR alone it is doubtful he would be alive now.

It would be foolish to not have these devices in our public spaces, given their effectiveness and reasonable cost.

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Posted by Norman Carroll, formerly registered but unreconized
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm

This is a bit of an aside, but my personal difib device (ICD -IMPLANTED CARDIAC DEVICE)kept me alive long enough to call 911 for EMS to get to me. I think 5 minutes can be a hell of a long time.....

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Posted by Hamilton
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 2, 2013 at 1:57 pm

These AED's revived someone within the first two weeks of being installed in Palo Alto. I just took a CPR course which included AED training. Chance of the EMT reviving someone with an AED once they arrive is about six percent, whereas if you can use the AED within the first three minutes of cardiac arrest it is up to 70 percent chance of reviving them. Thank you Racing Hearts and the City of Palo Alto!!!

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