Now Affordable, Defibrillators May Be Required For Public Schools - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/09/06-Tyler

Now Affordable, Defibrillators May Be Required For Public Schools

A string of student deaths has led the governing organization for student athletics to consider making all public schools in Texas have a defibrillator. That's a device that can shock a person's heart back to life in the case of cardiac arrest.

But an East Texas school headmaster says businesses and others should consider the life-saving device. 

It's been just a little over six months since Arthur Burke went for a walk with his dog, with no sign of a problem.

"[I was] doing some strolling around the block and the next thing, I'm flat on my back with a cardiac arrest," he says..

In a moment, the headmaster for All Saints Episcopal School was for all intents, dead.  Two nearby youngsters administered CPR, but what he needed was an electric shock.

"They zapped me and got my heart started," he says.

Paramedics used a defibrillator they commonly carry in their ambulance, but portable models like these are becoming more and more common in schools like All Saints.

"It's voice activated, and it's voice run. It's going to take you through the entire process," he says.

Trinity Mother Frances Health System has donated some automatic defibrillators to schools through grants.

"The cost has come way, way down, and I think one day, these will be more common than fire extinguishers," says TMFHS spokesman John Moore.

Some models cost less than a thousand dollars and they're almost totally automated, even telling someone exactly when to deliver the shock.

Burke says all public places should have one, as minutes count when someone's heart stops.

"You have certain things in life that are going to make a difference in somebody's life, and you don't know when that's going to be called upon," he says.

The University Interscholastic League will consider the defibrillator requirement at a meeting this weekend. 

Models can now be found for under $1000, and do not require a doctor's permission.  However, training is advised.  Trinity Mother Frances Education Services offers training for a nominal fee.  Their number is (903) 531-4081.

Reported by Morgan Palmer, morganpalmer@kltv.com. 

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