A student at McKinney High School near Dallas is alive today thanks to a portable machine on stand-by at the school. The 17-year-old collapsed on the soccer field last week after his heart stopped. Coaches used a portable defibrillator to keep him alive until paramedics could get to the scene and take over.
Portable defibrillators are becoming widely available in public places across Lubbock. You'll find them in 184 locations including the South Plains Mall, the airport, and the Science Spectrum. The City of Lubbock has purchased 63. It's a machine that allows anyone to jump-start the heart by following recorded instructions from the device. It worked for Jenifer who collapsed from a heart attack in the office at age 38.
"Just the fact that we have defibrillators in the office, is simply a miracle," says Jenifer Fergusson.
"The reason for that is for every minute that goes by, there's a 10% less chance of survival," says Robert Collins, with the American Heart Association.
Following instructions on the machine, it took five shocks to get Jenifer's heart started again. Portable defibrillators cost about $2,000 and that's why they are not in Lubbock schools at this time. However, there is a committee of LISD health teachers and nurses who are investigating and trying to find a way to finance it.
If you'd like more information on getting a portable defibrillator in your home or business, call the American Heart Association at 762-6599 for more information.