By Megan Wyles
Deputy Chief of Lions’ EMS
According to the website of the American Heart Association, each year about 360,000 people in the United States suffer from sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is serious and often fatal condition, in which the heart ceases to beat normally. In such situations, immediate CPR with the use of an AED often means the difference between life and death. An automated external defibrillator, or AED, is a device that is applied to the victim’s bare chest in order deliver an electrical shock to the person’s heart to attempt to allow the heart to restore its own normal electrical activity. Of these 360,000 people who suffer from this condition annually, there is about 9% observed survivor rate for these victims in an out-of-hospital setting. Every minute that stands between these people and effective CPR with the use of an Automated External Defibrillator translates directly to significant percentage losses in terms of the probability of their survival.
These devices are available on campus at several different locations, in addition to the several additional devices that are carried 24/7 by Campus Police officers and Lions’ EMS members in their respective vehicles. In such an emergency, every second matters and these devices are readily available so that any person with the courage and foresight to do so can act accordingly. This is exactly the reason why AEDs are accessible to the public and are not kept under lock and key. With that being said, there is a certain degree of trust that the owners of such an AED must have in the public when keeping these life-saving devices in such readily available locations, a trust that was undoubtedly and undeniably broken this past week by some members of the community.
This past week, an AED was taken from a location on campus by some unknown parties and tossed into a stream near Green Lane fields. This blatant act of vandalism has rendered this invaluable device unusable for all intents and purposes, an act that is egregious for more reasons than one. The destruction of such a device, which is likely worth well over a thousand dollars, exhibits a flagrant disrespect for the property of this campus and the State of New Jersey. As if this loss weren’t enough to stomach, it is also important to consider that the potential repercussions of such a seemingly frivolous prank could be a loss of life for any student, visitor, faculty member, or employee of campus who is in need of the services of this device and cannot receive them in the most timely fashion possible due to this thoughtless act. I am deeply saddened by this act as both a healthcare provider and a member of the campus community, and I sincerely hope that anyone who sees fit to place their hands on one of this devices with ill-intent in the future first takes the time to consider the potential consequences of such an act as if it were themselves or a loved one in need of the device. With that being said, I urge anyone with information on this act to come forward to Campus Police to prevent the recurrence of such an unfortunate, ignorant, and unnecessary act in the future.