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TRUMBULL COUNTY Officials mull purchase of 4 defibrillators



Published: Fri, June 8, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The automated machines have vocal instructions for users, commissioners say.

By STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

WARREN -- Trumbull County commissioners are considering buying four portable devices to jump-start constituents' failing hearts.

The automatic defibrillators, simple enough to be operated by a child, officials say, will be kept in the courthouse, county jail and in two sheriff's department cruisers.

"Every elected official I've talked to seems to be in favor of it, so we will start working on it as soon as possible," said commissioner Joseph Angelo at a meeting Thursday with American Heart Association officials.

How they work: The defibrillators, which cost about $2,800 each, use an electric shock to keep ailing hearts beating. They would be used to help victims of sudden cardiac arrest before an ambulance arrives.

"Every second counts," said Dr. David Fredericka, a Warren cardiologist. "That is why having these [devices] so readily available is so important."

The odds of surviving a heart attack are reduced by 10 percent for each minute that elapses before treatment, says a November column in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The type of defibrillators being considered by the commissioners is about the size of a small toolbox and gives vocal prompts telling the operator what to do.

The machine senses the victim's heartbeat through the two paddles which deliver the shock, and the machine won't deliver the shock unless it is needed and the paddles are properly positioned, said Debbie Kline, the AHA's regional advocacy manager.

Protection for users: She said it is virtually impossible to misuse the machines. Ohio's "Good Samaritan" law would protect people trying to use the devices, and the county, from lawsuits should an attempt to help go awry.

Commissioner Michael O'Brien said he hoped golf courses, athletic clubs and shopping malls eventually would all equip themselves with defibrillators.

The machines have been installed in airports across the country and some police departments have put them in their patrol cars.

siff@vindy.com




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