TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - When the 911 call came in reporting a 73-year-old woman in cardiac arrest, West Terre Haute Police and Vigo County Sheriff's deputies hit the road.
They were armed, however, with a new tool: an automated exterior defibrillator, a device that can help regulate a person's heart rhythm by delivering an electrical shock. Twelve deputies had been given the defibrillators just one week before.
"Within 120 seconds of my arrival … Deputy Newman had his AED attached to the victim and the West Terre Haute officer was already doing compressions for CPR," remembered Sgt. Jeff Bell, of the Vigo County Sheriff's Department. "Before leaving the scene in the ambulance, our AED had already shocked her at least four times total."
Authorities said because of those treatments, the victim survived to be taken to an area hospital.
Although the woman died several hours later, authorities Bell said the AED treatments helped to give doctors more time during which to treat her.
So far, twelve deputies have been given the AEDs to carry in their cars and have been trained in their use, Newman said.
Shad Goodman, Director of Cardiovascular Services at Union Hospital in Terre Haute, said the devices can help save lives in emergency situations, particularly in rural areas that are further removed from hospitals.
"This little device is extremely important," Goodman said. "There's evidence out there that every minute that goes by, your mortality rate goes up, even with CPR … These things do save lives."
Many public buildings already have AEDs installed for use in emergencies.
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