There’s no question that sudden cardiac arrest can be downright scary. More than 300,000 people die each year from sudden cardiac arrest, and often there are no warning signs. Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, as heart attacks are typically caused by an arterial blockage. The leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest is abnormal heart rhythms with ventricular fibrillation.
Unfortunately, the odds aren’t great for someone who experiences sudden cardiac arrest if they are outside of a hospital. According to the National Safety Council, the survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest outside of a healthcare setting is only 5% at most. That’s because it typically takes paramedics 8-12 minutes to arrive once a 911 call is placed. As every minute counts, this is often too late. However, access to a defibrillator can significantly improve a victim’s chances of survival.
Dan Caplis understands this all too well. Dan Caplis is an attorney and founder of Dan Caplis Law who has served as counsel on thousands of personal injury and medical malpractice cases. One of the cases he worked on was a lawsuit on the behalf of a family of a high school football player who died from sudden cardiac arrest. Although it is the leading cause of death for people over 40, sudden cardiac arrest can affect young people as well.
After working on this case, Dan Caplis began carrying an automated external defibrillator in his car- just in case. This was crucial as he later saw his friend, Ches Thompson, experience sudden cardiac arrest at a Thanksgiving neighborhood touch football game. Luckily, Dan Caplis was able to revive the 48-year-old physician with his defibrillator. The physician may not have survived if there wasn’t a defibrillator present.
Today, Ches Thompson gathers every year with his family and friends on Thanksgiving to celebrate. They are now fully aware of the importance of having a defibrillator on hand. It can truly save lives. Thompson’s story is just one of many. You may have heard that Biggest Loser trainer, Bob Harper, collapsed in a similar fashion. If there wasn’t a defibrillator at the gym, he might have not survived either.
These stories go to show the need for preparation by individuals and the public to offer access to defibrillators. Everyone wants to be a hero. It usually requires being in the right place at the right time. In Dan Caplis’ story, there was one requirement more; being at the right place, at the right time with the right machine.
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