Shocking for survival: Rotary hears tips about using public defibrillators

BUCKHANNON — The Buckhannon Rotary Club provided its members and guests with a presentation from Kevin Stingo, the director of surgical services at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Stingo presented the proper use of an Automated External Defibrillator and talked about the importance of its presence in public places.
“CPR is good, but a shock from the AED is so important,” Stingo said. “The faster the shock is delivered the more likely the patient is to survive.”
Stingo said the survival rate is less than five percent for those suffering from cardiac arrest without the use of an AED within five minutes. The AED is also the only effective method to restore a regular heart rhythm without any medical training because an AED always comes with instructions and Stingo said most of the time they will even walk you through the process with spoken instructions.
“All AEDs are relatively easy to use,” Stingo said, “As long as you follow the directions on the AED and follow the instructions the machine is telling you it will walk you through everything.”
Dr. Susan Long said if a person has collapsed in a public space and 911 has been alerted, a person should always try an AED because a typical response time is eight to 12 minutes and an AED is most effective the earlier it is administered.
“The first thing you should always do when someone has collapsed is to call 911,” Long said.  “But if you have an AED available you should absolutely utilize it. An AED will not do any harm if it is not a problem it can’t fix because it will not shock the person, but if it is the problem you could save someone’s life.”
Stingo explained the best position to use an AED is to attach one of the pads to the person’s right side of their chest and the other on their left side. This is to get the optimal position to make sure the electricity runs through the heart and that the machine can calculate if they need a shock or not. Stingo said to make sure the person is not in water or snow and to make sure you are not touching the person when administering the shock. Following the verbal directions that come from the AED is key and to make sure you inform paramedics when they arrive if a shock had been administered or not.
The Rotary Club also provided a $1,000 check to the Upshur Helping Hands, which is a youth and adult community service group. The group’s previous projects include work is McDowell County to provide carpentry work such as replace roof shingles, building or replacing porches and installing new siding on a two story house.

More In Local News