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Lyon acquires AEDs for campus | Health

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Lyon acquires AEDs for campus
Health, Schools
Lyon acquires AEDs for campus

BATESVILLE, Ark. — On most days when he is not in class, Lyon College student Jerry Davis can often be found in Becknell Gymnasium playing basketball. It is exactly what he was doing on a cold day in February when he became winded. He took a short break to cool off and later went to the campus game room to play table tennis with a friend.

But while playing table tennis, Davis’ heart began racing and his body grew faint. He decided to go back to his dorm room and rest. On the way to his room, he collapsed. His friend caught him, helped him lie on the ground, and summoned an ambulance immediately.

Davis struggled to breathe as his heart rate continued to increase.

An ambulance arrived approximately 20 minutes later and Davis was transported to White River Medical Center for observation.

Fortunately Davis was okay, but the incident brought to light the need for automated external defibrillators (AED) on campus. The Student Government Association approved a $5,395 request last spring from the Lyon College Health and Wellness Office to purchase four AEDs. The Student Life Office also purchased one AED.

AEDs are electronic devices used to deliver an electric shock to someone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). SCA is caused by rapid or chaotic electrical impulses in the heart. During SCA, the heart stops pumping blood through the body, shutting off flow to the brain and vital organs. A defibrillator is necessary to re-establish the heart’s natural rhythm.

According to the Cardiac Science Corporation, SCA kills more than one million people each year, ranking among the leading causes of death worldwide. Though more than 90 percent of all SCA cases result in death, the use of a defibrillator increases the chance that a victim may survive.

Davis’ medical emergency did not require the use of an AED, but he said a situation on campus could arise where a person needs an AED.

“Twenty minutes is just too long,” Davis said. “I really believe that AEDs are a good thing to have around because you never know when you’re going to need one.”

Lyon College Nurse LuAnn Baker recognized the importance of having AEDs readily accessible on campus in 2007. However, AEDs are expensive, and she had to find a way to pay for the machines.

Baker determined the college needed 10 AEDs, each one to be placed within three minutes of any location on campus. Baker said a person’s survival rate decreases by 10 percent for every minute that passes after SCA without cardiopulmonary resuscitation and AED access. While ambulances carry AEDs, campus response time varies from six to 20 minutes — minutes an SCA sufferer cannot afford to waste.

Although the college’s athletic trainer has an AED in the gym, it is generally available only during athletic events or practices when the trainer is on campus.

Currently, six AEDs have been purchased and place in various locations around the campus. Baker said she will ask the SGA to fund the purchase of five more AEDs in the fall.

“If it saves one life, it will be more than worth it,” she said.

Dr. Terrell Tebbetts, the Martha Heasley Cox Chair in American Literature, agreed having AEDs on campus is essential. He supported the funding effort in memory of Otto Schwartz, an Arkansas College student and a friend of Tebbetts, who died in the early 1970s from an undiagnosed heartdisorder.

In 1970, Schwartz entered what was then Arkansas College. He was an outgoing young man who was well liked among his peers. He also was amember of the varsity swim team and a member of the local fraternity Gamma Delta Iota, which developed into the current Kappa Sigma chapter.

Schwartz and his fraternity brothers held a car wash one Saturday morning, but after feeling nauseated, Schwartz returned to campus to lie down.

Much to their horror, his brothers discovered Schwartz dead in his room later that afternoon. An autopsy revealed that Schwartz had died of a heart attack.

“If only AEDs were available 40 years ago, Otto would now be a husband, a father, a man on top of a great career, and a loyal Lyon alum,” Tebbetts said. “I am grateful we have AEDs now.”

The first six AEDs are in the Morrow Building, Brown Chapel, Becknell Gymnasium, the new temporary dining hall, Hoke-McCain Residence Hall and the Mabee-Simpson Library.

Health, Schools