NMH and Byram Schools Team up to Raise
June 23, 2010
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NEWTON – As school nurses in the Byram School District, Lorie Miller and Barbara Scholl have heard the stories of children with unknown cardiac conditions losing their lives.
That’s why the Byram School District created an Automated External Defibrillator First Responder Team at both of its schools; to ensure it would be prepared for any eventuality. Although the staff has never had to use any of its Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), a multidisciplinary team consisting of teachers, secretaries, nurses and teacher’s aides are ready, willing and able to handle a sudden cardiac emergency should one arise at either district school.
“We drill pretty consistently,” said Miller, who works at Byram Intermediate School. “It gives us confidence that we can help a student. It’s important to be prepared for emergencies.”
Miller and Scholl, the nurse at Byram Elementary School, said the preparation extends beyond just helping children.
“We also see their parents and grandparents come visit for afterschool activities and other events,” said Scholl, who works at the Byram Elementary School. “We want to be able to save a life should someone experience an episode here.”
The AED First Responder Team at the Byram School District is the only one of its kind that works with Newton Memorial Hospital on frequent drilling and preparation, according to Anne Foster, Newton Memorial’s CPR coordinator.
“Any time either of the Byram schools are open, they are prepared for a sudden cardiac emergency,” Foster said.
The Newton Memorial Hospital Foundation launched a campaign in 2001 to save lives in the community by making AEDs widely available. In addition, the Foundation provides training and Newton Memorial Hospital provides physician oversight to not-for-profit organizations, law enforcement, schools and others to be able to use AEDs when needed.
The team at Byram Schools are among 3,259 individuals trained by Newton Memorial Hospital since the program’s inception. These AEDs and the people trained to use them have directly saved the lives of 37 members of the community.
David Mattes, M.D., chief of emergency medicine at Newton Memorial Hospital, says even he could never have envisioned the success of the program nine years ago. Still, more must be done to continue to raise awareness, he said.
“For every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, the chances of survival decrease by 7 to 10 percent,” said Dr. Mattes, who personally reviews every case in which an AED provided by Newton Memorial Hospital is used. “Still, there are not enough AEDs or persons trained in using them to provide this treatment in emergencies, which absolutely saves lives. That’s what the Hospital is trying to change.”
The American Hospital Association reports that CPR combined with the use of an AED more than doubles the chances of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest compared with using CPR alone. Based on national statistics related to out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, researchers estimated that bystander CPR plus use of an AED in the U.S. and Canada saves 522 lives a year, or more than one life per day.
“The drilling from Newton Memorial Hospital is key,” Scholl said. “It alleviates any anxiety because everyone knows they have a job to do should an emergency arise.”
Newton Memorial Hospital provides monthly AED training in conjunction with the American Heart Association. To learn more about AED training courses, please call 973.579.8340.
PHOTO CAPTION: Staff from the Byram Lakes Elementary School volunteer their time as part of an Automated External Defibrillator team which is ready, willing and able to handle a sudden cardiac emergency at any time. Byram School District is the only of its kind in the community that works with Newton Memorial Hospital on frequent drilling and preparation. The Newton Memorial Hospital Foundation has made AEDs widely available throughout the community as part of its campaign to save lives. Front row, left to right, Kara Valeich, Barbara Scholl, Linda Vasquez, Mike Kulesa. Back row, left to right Maureen Lentine, Sara McHugh, Rebecca Seamon, Terry Firend, Meaghan McHugh.
PHOTO CAPTION: Staff from the Byram Intermediate School volunteer their time as part of an Automated External Defibrillator team which is ready, willing and able to handle a sudden cardiac emergency at any time. Byram School District is the only of its kind in the community that works with Newton Memorial Hospital on frequent drilling and preparation. The Newton Memorial Hospital Foundation has made AEDs widely available throughout the community as part of its campaign to save lives.Bottom row, left to right, Laurie Studley, Melissa Randall, Christie Muenzen, Lorie Miller, Michelle Buscio. Middle row, left to right, Ingrid Misurelli, Kristie Poyer, Patty Trentanelli, Stephanie Pezzato, Gerri Bryant. Top row, left to right, Jon Cady, Charlie Best, Omar Mendez.