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The defibrillator – a critical choice for survival

31 January 2013

Although we know in theory that a defibrillator can save lives, there have recently been two identical events that ended on a completely different note.

Last December, a few people came to the aid of a 48 years old teammate during a hockey game in an arena in Montmagny. In 2009, the municipality acquired a defibrillator to save lives; 3 years later, it filled its role. Rescuers were able to properly use the AED (automated external defibrillator) to resuscitate the victim.

On a darker note, this January, a man in his fifties also suffered a heart attack while practicing our national sport in another arena, but this time in Sherbrooke. Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of the first aiders yet trained to provide CPR, the victim could not be revived.

It is estimated that eight out of ten people will be saved if an AED is used within 5 minutes after the heart attack. CPR can keep the brain and body oxygenated while help is on the way, but the DEA for his part can reset the heart and actually resuscitate victims of cardiac arrest. A crucial difference when we know that we have about 10 minutes to resuscitate someone.

This death is the second in three months in Sherbrooke. Last November and in the same circumstances, a sexagenarian died of a cardiorespiratory arrest. Yet, local companies such as Formation Urgence Vie or Ambulance St-Jean train people on the use of defibrillators and even distribute them but the fact is that their benefits remain poorly understood. Would the presence of a defibrillator have brought these people back to life? The rescue of Montmagny’s hockey player leads us to believe that it would have been possible.

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