WILSON COUTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — By state law, they hang silently in hallways at every high school in Tennessee. But when seconds matter, an automated external defibrillator is literally a lifesaver.
“Your goal is to get the shock from a defibrillator to the victim in under three minutes for every minute of delay for defibrillation, their chance of survival goes down by 10%.”
Monroe Caroll Jr. Childrens Hospital at Vanderbilt nurse Angel Carter trains educators across Middle Tennessee and makes it clear their chance of encountering these brushes with death are not as rare as they may believe.
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“Tyler steps up to bat. He tips a foul ball. He steps back up to home plate to take the next pitch when he suddenly collapses right there at home plate.”
“There was a 15 year old at station camp high school, so neighboring county,Sitting in class, He’s a cross-country athlete, runs ten miles a day, great shape. He’s sitting in class talking to a friend when all of a sudden he slumps and falls face first on the desk.”
And in Nashville
“There was a kid at Jonathan Edwards Classical Academy in North Nashville, again a cross country runner, then on August 13th, he was running laps around the parking lot out in front of the school with his team when he suddenly stumbled and fell. Well, as coaches saw that and were already like, wait a minute, that didn’t look right.”
Carter’s mission is to get educators comfortable with the AED technology and compression CPR before it’s ever needed. She recently trained coaches and other staff at Lebanon High School.
“They’re pretty easy to use, they’re they’re designed to be used by anyone with a second grade education or higher because they give you both audible and visual prompts. And there’s pictures on the pads but it’s such an intense, high adrenaline sort of situation that your brain is not always processing the information that it’s seeing and hearing and you’re you’re just so jacked up with your adrenaline that you need to have practice so that it’s more like muscle memory rather than processing information,” explained Carter.
And the combination of proper chest compressions and the AED dramatically increases the chance of survival, when it happens.
“The survival rate is only 10 to 12%, according to the American Heart Association. And we’re not moving the needle on that as a nation. It’s been that for years, the reason they say that only about 30% of cardiac arrest victims get what they need at the scene, which is CPR and less than 5% get the use of an AED.”
Carter’s training goes fast and the Lebanon High staff get a chance to see the AED in action.
The need for this training is not lost on JD Lakeman, head cross country coach at Lebanon High School.
“The event is going to be stressful. So it’s good to do it in sort of a less stressful environment and you can make mistakes and it’s OK here…. I’d be happy if I never have to use it,” said Lakeman.
And then, its on to the next class.