Editorial: A good move
The Wilton Lacrosse Association deserves thanks and acknowledgment for its efforts to place five automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on Wilton athletic fields. It would be wonderful if they were never needed, but that is unlikely.
Cardiac arrest is the last thing we consider when out for an afternoon of fun watching our kids at play. But it happens.
It can happen to kids, and even more likely, it can happen to the adults watching.
According to an article on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, more than 190 cases of commotio cordis were reported in the United States as of 2009. Commotio cordis is blunt, nonpenetrating trauma to the chest resulting in irregular heart rhythm. It can lead to sudden death.
Forty-seven percent of those 190 cases occurred during athletic competition, and it is the second most common cause of sudden cardiac death in athletes. It occurs most commonly in baseball, particularly youth baseball, from pitches that average 30 to 50 mph. But it also affects lacrosse and hockey players.
Among the preventive measures recommended is making AEDs available at sporting events. Defibrillation will not save every victim, but if it is your child, your spouse, your friend, you will want that defibrillator on-site.
Wilton’s emergency responders — police, firefighters and ambulance — do an excellent job of responding to emergencies. But to expect them to arrive at an incident quickly enough to use an AED within four minutes of a person collapsing is unrealistic. And that’s what it takes — the use of CPR and an AED within four minutes — to give a person a reasonable chance at surviving heart failure.
But playing fields are not the only places where cardiac emergencies can take place. In offices, classrooms, businesses, and at home, fate does not discriminate.
Wilton spends a lot of money on a lot of things. It should set aside money to increase access to AEDs in all its public buildings and in schools in particular. CPR training should be encouraged and made available to town and school staff members.
Private businesses should also make it a priority to have AEDs available to help their employees, customers or clients should an emergency occur.
We would, most likely, be helping our friends and neighbors. It is the ultimate expression of the Golden Rule — do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to thank someone for saving your life? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be on the receiving end of those thanks?