Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Would You Know Where to Find an AED If You Need One

There is a contest in Philadelphia to map locations of all of the AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) in the county –

 

$10,000 prize.

 

Who can map the most AEDs by March 13, 2012?

The MyHeartMap Challenge, which will run until Mar. 13, aims to draw awareness to automatic external defibrillators in the Philadelphia county. Through a scavenger hunt open to the public, the contest offers monetary prizes to groups that can locate the most defibrillators — machines that release electric shocks to the heart to restore normal heart rhythms after cardiac arrest.[1]

Ooh! Ooh! I found one!

Image credit.

“This will be the first AED map in a U.S. city by the public that would be comprehensive for the public,” said Raina Merchant, co-director of MyHeartMap and an Emergency Medicine professor at the Medical School.[1]

The medical school? In Philadelphia? There are Temple, Einstein, Jefferson, Drexel/Hahnemann, PCOM (Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine), and HUP (Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania). As I explain to people, when I am criticizing the almost epidemic lack of understanding of medicine – You can’t swing a Philadelphia lawyer without hitting a medical school, so how do they get away with such ignorance? There is not just one medical school. The people at this medical school may not consider the other medical schools to be real medical schools, but that is nonsense. I searched for Dr. Merchant and found that she is at HUP.

“I ran up to a 50-year-old gentleman who had collapsed on the street and I assessed him, but he didn’t have a pulse,” he said. “A nurse helped me start CPR while I called for a defibrillator,” he added. But in spite of searching a big restaurant and CVS, they could not find an AED right away.[1]

One clue would be to look in places that have a lot of people working there – large office buildings are some of the best places. Nursing homes should have AEDs, but do not expect them to let you use their AED.

“Starting at a local level, making the 911 services aware of where AEDs are is a good first step,” Merchant said.[1]

No. In Pennsylvania all ambulances are required to carry an AED or a manual defibrillator. Why would EMS need to know where an AED is? Did I mention that all ambulances must have at least an AED.

Just because EMS shows up does not mean that EMS will be smart enough to actually provide appropriate treatment. With all of the time we spend training on CPR (CardioPulmonary Resuscitation), we should be able to remember to start compressions and to quickly deliver a shock, but my off-duty experiences with cardiac arrest suggest otherwise.

I dealt with some basic EMT, who insisted that delivering a shock on moist ground is deadly. He was wrong then. He is still wrong. We moved the patient to a backboard made of plastic, which should have satisfied the fool, but he appears to have been more interested in demonstrating that He was in charge, than in patient care. Then the patient was moved to the ambulance and He came up with some other excuse for not shocking the patient. It might have been – I’m not doing anything until the medic shows up! Any basic EMT who ever uses this excuse to not treat a patient should be fired on the spot. This clown was not fired. He was in charge.[2]

Another off-duty cardiac arrest was almost as bad. The only difference is that the patient survived and had a good outcome, even though police and EMS did almost everything they could to avoid delivering a shock to the patient. I may tell about that another time.

I hope that my anecdotal experiences are just a couple of unusually bad cases. I hope that most patients receive better care. At about a year ago, Kelly Grayson and Too Old To Work, Too Young To Retire had a similar call, but they had a much more professional response from EMS in New Jersey.[3]

Footnotes:

[1] Med School scavenger hunt hopes to spread awareness about cardiac arrest
The Daily Pennsylvanian
By David Britto
January 31, 2012, 11:12 pm
Article

[2] Off Duty CPR in the Middle of the Road
Rogue Medic
Mon, 24 Mar 2008
Article

[3] Blogger Save!
A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver
Mon, 24 Mar 2008
Article

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Comments

  1. ABout this:

    “Starting at a local level, making the 911 services aware of where AEDs are is a good first step,” Merchant said.[1]
    No. In Pennsylvania all ambulances are required to carry an AED or a manual defibrillator. Why would EMS need to know where an AED is? Did I mention that all ambulances must have at least an AED.

    I think he might have meant that the 911 operators should have access to the location of AEDs Which doesn’t seem to me like a bad idea

  2. Is it possible that they meant 911 DISPATCHERS would have locations of the AEDs? So as to better inform people of where one may be nearby?

  3. Its a HUP program if you really weren’t sure

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