Health Club “Shock” on Anniversary of Legislation
HAYWARD, CA-At 6:40 AM on a weekday morning, the gym floor was sparsely occupied. A few members went about their workouts individually while the attendant busied himself with various housekeeping tasks. All that changed in an instant. A 39 year old male patron with no history of heart problems began his early morning workout as usual. Shortly after, a routine glance around the gym by the attendant revealed the patron slumped to the floor, unmoving. The attendant grabbed the facility’s Automated External Defibrillator (AED) device and ran to the man’s side. Unable to get a response to the “shake and shout” test he had been taught in his CPR class, he put both his CPR and his AED training to work within two minutes of the incident. Another patron concurrently dialed 911 from a land line.
When emergency personnel arrived on the scene, the attendant was still administering CPR and had given the victim one shock with the AED device. The paramedics were able to detect a faint pulse and transported the patient to the hospital for further medical intervention. Unfortunately, this story does not have the traditional happy ending. Despite the best medical interventions by both trained medical personnel and the gym employee, the victim did not survive. Ironically, this event took place on July 1st, the one year anniversary of California’s Assembly Bill 1507 (the 2007 “Gym Law”), legislation which requires that gyms have an AED device on site, legally compliant AED program management, and trained employees on duty.
Reached by phone, Micah Bongberg, Vice President of Business Development of MasterCPR (mastercpr.com), the company that provides both CPR and AED training, equipment, and AED program management for the gym, was clearly saddened by the loss of life due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest . He went on to comment, “While the outcome of this event is unfortunate, there are elements of celebration, satisfaction, and accomplishment. Statistically, when an AED is present during a witnessed Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the unit is deployed only 50% of the time. The fact that this employee responded promptly, effectively, and confidently must be noted, emphasized, and congratulated. Moreover, the victim in this case arrived at the hospital with a detectable pulse. This is evidence that there is nothing else this facility or employee could have done for this gentleman.”
Survival rates for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) are less than 5% in cases where CPR is begun immediately. Survival rates hover around 0% if no action is taken by bystanders in the crucial first one to two minutes of the event. Unfortunately, most lay rescuers simply wait for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to arrive, and by then it is simply too late. Published studies indicate that with early CPR and defibrillation with portable AED devices, survival rates for victims climb to as high as 70% or more. Chest compressions alone administered by a casual bystander increase the victim’s chances for survival dramatically. “When in doubt, do something,” advises Bongberg “the reality is, the victim is already dead and a lay responder’s actions can only improve the victim’s chances of survivability.”
SCA is an insidious killer, attacking apparently healthy people without warning and taking more lives annually than breast cancer, prostate cancer, gunshot wounds, and fires…combined! Consider the average gym member; approximately 55 years of age, working on becoming more fit, professionally in a sedentary occupation. In recognition of this demographic and the increased risk of SCA associated with exercise, California is one of 13 states and the District of Columbia that now require the presence of AED devices in gyms, health clubs, and fitness facilities. Additionally, the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) now requires that all personal trainers and certified gym personnel be certified in the use of AED devices as well as CPR as of June 1, 2007.
“We know that what we teach saves lives. Our training goal is to give laypeople the confidence and competence to get involved wherever they may be if they witness an emergency. Our instructors are working professionals and they all agree that when they arrive on the scene where a bystander is acting, there is a far better outcome for the patient. This situation is an example of the effectiveness of that type of training,” continued Micah Bongberg.