Cardiac arrest survival hits 70% in Hawaiian airports after AED installations

Sixty-nine people have survived out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OOHCAs) at Hawaii’s airports since an AED program was first implemented in 2006, the Oregonian reports.

Typically, a person’s shot at survival in the case of OOHCA is an infamous 10%, Samantha Swindler reported this month for the Portland-based paper. But since the California AED Institute was hired to install, maintain and train people to use 100 AEDs across 13 Hawaiian airports, that rate has climbed to 70%.

Pamela Foster, founder of the AED Institute, has tallied 69 OOHCA survivals since the program was implemented in Hawaiian airports 13 years ago. She keeps an ever-growing “wall of survivors” in her office and recently connected two cardiac arrest victims—Larry Ledwith and Larry Gill—who’d survived OOHCAs years apart at different hospitals in Hawaii.

“The thought came about, because they live so close to each other, to maybe get them together,” Foster told the Oregonian. “And maybe do something with that information that might save somebody else’s life.”

The pair of Larrys recently met over coffee to bond over their shared experiences. Gill said he wasn’t sure why he survived his cardiac arrest, but thinks part of it might have to do with spreading awareness of AEDs and CPR.

“You’ve got to be able to go in and help,” he told Swindler. “Too often, people are willing to step over you and say, ‘I don’t want to get involved.’ It’s important that people get involved, they know that there are AEDs available, they’re usable and they’re easy to use.”

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