Re: Defibrillator in the common house
From: Jude Foster (
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2018 08:34:32 -0700 (PDT)
Hello all.  I’ve been following the AED machine discussion with some interest, 
and this morning I decided to copy and paste a post I sent out here in my 
community, Trillium Hollow in Portland Oregon, when it was a hot topic last 
year. This is kind of long, but worth considering I think.  To give you a 
visual image as you read, Trillium has one large building with 28 units on 3 
floors with a large central courtyard on the second level; our Common House is 
across the plaza and driveway a running 30 seconds to a minute away, at best.

I take CPR classes every two years, and at my last training, the trainer made 
the facts about CPR and AEDs abundantly clear.  So here is what I wrote:

"In a case of cardiac arrest outside of a medical facility, CPR brings the 
person back to life in only about 10% of cases.  We have an almost mythical 
impression that CPR saves lives, perhaps from TV.  Sometimes, especially in the 
case of a child, or a healthy adult who has an accident of some kind, it works 
the miracle.  But overall, only 10% of the time.  That is sobering.  It is not 
an argument against doing CPR.  

AED's increase that percent to 50% - 75% (there's disagreement on this 
percent), but only if applied in the first 3 minutes after cardiac arrest. 
After 3 minutes, the likelihood of bringing that person back goes down fast.  
Seconds and minutes count.

Modern AED's are easy to use, with voice prompts and lights etc; the machine 
assesses the victim and then talks you through the process. People could learn 
how to use one pretty easily.

So let's imagine a few possible scenarios:    

1.  Let's say we purchase an AED, and we decide to keep it in the Common House. 
 Person A goes into cardiac arrest on the stairs to the third floor.  If he's 
lucky, someone sees or hears him, and that someone calls 911.  Then that person 
yells for help, gets him down to flat concrete and begins to do compressions, 
and yells again for someone else to run to the Common House to get the AED.  
Minutes pass fast.  He keeps on with compressions.  EMT's arrive before the AED 
is even used.

2.  Or we decide to keep the AED in the courtyard by the elevator.  Person B 
goes into cardiac arrest while getting his mail at the Common House.  No one 
witnesses it.  Or if someone else is there, that person finds the phone, calls 
911, then starts compressions, and hopes that a third person can hear her 
yelling to get the AED.  Again, minutes pass.

3.  Or Person C goes into cardiac arrest at night, and she lives alone in her 
unit.  That's it.

4.  Or Person D goes into sudden cardiac arrest at night, or in the morning, 
whenever, and her partner is there, and finds his phone and calls 911, and puts 
his phone on speaker, and starts compressions, and screams for help.  Or he 
opens his door and yells for help before beginning compressions.  If it all 
unfolds as best it can, someone brings the AED fast, before the paramedics 
arrive.  The AED is used.

5.  Or best case, Person E goes into sudden cardiac arrest during dinner, and 
people trained in CPR are there, and the AED machine is right there, and no 
mistakes are made.  One person calls 911, another starts CPR, the third gets 
out the AED. After a shock is applied, the EMT's arrive. Person A has the best 
chance to survive, but still, it's not a sure thing.

To summarize this reality check:  Even with some of us trained in CPR, and even 
if we had a $1500 AED, circumstances would have to be just right to bring 
Person ABCDE back to life.

So should we purchase an AED?  That is the question.”  [We haven’t yet.]
Now you can transpose those scenarios to your own communities’ physical layouts 
and perhaps think it through some more.


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