Imagine a co-worker collapses, an ambulance pulls up to your organization, and paramedics begin taking life-saving measures next to computers, telephones, and cubical walls. What had been until now a normal day, suddenly transforms into anything but normal. It is natural for anyone who witnesses this incident to experience a range of emotions – shock, distress, anxiety, concern. With Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) killing 1000 people every day in the US – more than breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, gun shot wounds, and car accidents COMBINED – it is certain that many of these deaths occur daily in the workplace.
With cost overruns, delayed sales close dates, reduced sales packages, and general market instability, business managers are forced, like never before, to plan for the unexpected. Significant injury and illness in the workplace affects all aspects of an organization and strikes even the large firms which are typically perceived to be resilient to one-person injuries due to their size. There is also the belief that such organizations are compartmentalized with employees forming personal relationships only with those in their department and sitting adjacent to them, which is a misconception.
The outcome of the incident described before, is directly correlated to the time and severity of the recovery process for everyone involved with it. A state of shock is long-lasting and powerful. Most organizations understand that while it is important to address an incident by being sensitive to their employees and allowing them adequate time during the grieving process, it is also important to transition the firm to normal business operations as quickly as possible – especially when precious resources are scarce and employees are nervous about their employment, as during poor economic conditions.
We all wish to be the anomaly of Sudden Cardiac Arrest’s reach and avoid it entirely however it is virtually impossible to do so given its effect on victims of all ages, races, and sexes. SCA strikes everyone and everywhere. Defibrillation within 3-5 minutes can result in greater than a 70% chance of survival, however, across the country today’s average save rates are less than 5%. Studies indicate the important role the public plays in mitigating the severity of cardiac arrest by providing early and proper CPR and early defibrillation.
Employees of organizations across the country are looking at the statistics and beginning to ask their employers ‘why aren’t we installing AED units and increasing the chance of survival at our office from 5% to over 70%?’ The business case for deployment becomes much more compelling when decision-makers analyze costs associated with decreased productivity, absent employees, presenteeism (when employees are in the office but unfocussed), and similar costs which commonly aren’t analyzed.
In a tough economy, organizations are forced to look at their bottom lines like never before. One way to save financial resources is to analyze the investment of only a few thousand dollars for effective, safe, and efficient AED programs versus the potential financial impact of lost productivity, higher absenteeism, and decreased morale after a death at the workplace. Such economic analysis doesn’t include the most important comparative measure of all, the “cost” associated with lost life. Automated External Defibrillator (AED) units are simply the right thing for employer’s to provide, in good times and bad.