<< Front page News April 9, 2004

Defibrillators will give hearts hope

Better late than never: Defibrillators make hearts happy!.

Oberlin College is now the proud owner of three automated external defibrillators. These machines are used to stabilize a person’s heart rate.

The first AED Oberlin acquired arrived in Phillips Gymnasium on Valentine’s Day, 2003, though it has not had to be used yet. The money to buy it did not come from the college, but rather through a donation from alumnus Curtis Couts.

“He heard I wanted one and he wanted to commemorate his father,” Director of the Philips Gym Betsy Bruce said.

Bruce had previously requested an AED from the College and had been refused. “I was discouraged at the response of the institution,” Bruce said. “The initial comment was that the ambulance was only at the end of the block, why do we need one at the College?”

This response may have had to do with the price of AEDs. Four years ago they cost between six and seven thousand dollars. They have since dropped to around $2000 to $3000.

“As people in places like the rec center started purchasing AEDs, they became the standard of care,” Bruce said. “I felt that we were now below that standard. Even Oberlin High had bought two.”

Since the first AED, two more have been added in the back of security cars. Some feel that an incident in Peters this fall prompted the school to buy them.

“This fall a boy at Peters collapsed during class and no one knew what to do,” Bruce said. “Security came and gave CPR. When EMS came I think they needed to shock him three times. He revived after a day or so at the hospital. That was the episode that really said, okay, we need this stuff.”

Assistant Director of Safety and Security Marjorie Burton sees the situation differently.

“The collapse was a good example of what it could be used for,” Burton said. “Not just for people with heart disease or the elderly, but even young people in everyday life. I don’t really think this was the reason they were bought though.”

Instead, she attributes the new machines to overall advances.

“A few years ago the security staff began to take a more advanced program for first aid which is when we first started thinking about AEDs,” Burton said. “The standard nationwide is to have AEDs to use with this level of certification. We just didn’t buy them when they were cutting edge.”


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