Howard Udell P’88 has good reason to be pleased that the Top of The Hill Team has purchased a defibrillator for the Staples boys soccer program. He said “Bravo” — then added this story:
Some years ago, I was part of a small group that decided to buy defibrillators for our company headquarters in Stamford. No one opposed the idea. Most were indifferent.
We ended up buying a defibrillator for each floor in the building. The few of us making the proposal had read articles about how this simple, relatively inexpensive device was saving lives — about 10,000 to 15,000 sudden cardiac arrest victims each year.
Little did I know then that I would be the first employee whose life would be saved by an AED. Here is what I pieced together from conversations with those involved:
On June 9 of this year while at a meeting in my office, and without any warning, I dropped to the floor unconscious. It was later determined that I went into cardiac arrest. Several offices away was a colleague who happened to be a physician. He was at my side within 2 minutes.
Another colleague ran for the defibrillator on the floor. He returned in about a minute. The physician applied the defibrillator to my chest immediately. The AED continued to monitor my heart. At one point it told him, “START CPR.” My colleague followed the defibrillator’s instructions until I was stabilized, and the EMTs arrived to take me to Stamford Hospital.
Everyone agrees, with no exception, that the quick and easy access to the defibrillator saved my life. While some might think that it was its use by an experienced physician made the difference, nothing could be further from the truth. There is abundant evidence that anyone can safely and effectively use a defibrillator – even children.
Once opened, the device speaks to the operator. In clear, simple and unambiguous language, and while it monitors the patient, the defibrillator tells the operator exactly what to do. Once the patient is stabilized, the defibrillator tells the operator to stop CPR. According to those who participated in my event, “it couldn’t have been simpler.”
Thanks to the convenient presence of a defibrillator, I survived the cardiac arrest and a small stroke it caused. I now feel terrific. I’m just about back to normal. I’m back at my office 2 days a week, and have also resumed my work as a volunteer at the VA hospital in West Haven 1 day a week. I work from home the remaining 2 days of the week. Not bad for 2 months post-cardiac arrest and stroke.
Congratulations to the Staples boys soccer’s booster club. Your foresight will save lives.