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School district rejects lifesaving technology

by on February 27, 2011

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What are the costs and risks of having lifesaving technology?

It’s a question facing school districts when it comes to having automatic external defibrillators in schools.

When used correctly, AEDs can increase survival rates of sudden cardiac arrest by 25% to 30%.

In August, Corinne Ruiz helped donate an AED to Rosedale Union Middle School in honor of her daughter Olivia who died six years ago of a heart condition.  Ruiz is ready to donate three more, but the district says it can’t accept them.

“This is my way of keeping my daughter, her memory alive,” says Ruiz. “And, her death will not be in vain.”

The district sent Ruiz an e-mail saying their insurance provider has advised them AEDs are too much of a liability.

“I read that. I said how can this be?” asked Ruiz. “How can too many AEDs create liability?”

Rosedale Union Superintendent John Mendiburu says the district’s hands are tied by the way the law holds school districts accountable.

“If in the future our liability changes, then we would have no problem looking at it or re-visiting it,” he said. “But, as of right now, the way the laws are written for school districts, we felt the one we had was sufficient.”

But, Mark Storace of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association says AEDs are so advanced these days, anyone can use them.

“They are relatively fool-proof,” he said. “There is really no liability. Even an untrained, unskilled person can actually use an AED by following the instructions.”

As for Ruiz, she says she won’t be deterred.

“I will not stop because my daughter is precious to me and she always will be.”

Ruiz says she is talking with other school districts about donating the AEDs.

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