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Heart Association rallies for CPR in schools

Survivors share their stories of how life-saving skill has had an impact

Survivors of cardiac arrests and people that have used CPR to save a life practice CPR in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building on Tuesday, June 3.

Survivors of cardiac arrests and people that have used CPR to save a life practice CPR in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building on Tuesday, June 3. Photo by Billy DeLap.

— “When they saw the good job Casey was doing, they said to keep it up and don’t break rhythm, and they didn’t take over for him until they were ready to take Joel out of the house,” Hutton said.

Joel spent 17 days in a coma at Albany Medical Center, but has recovered fully.

“He (Casey) wouldn’t have been able to do it if he hadn’t been taught, “said Hutton. “He wouldn’t have been taught if the American Heart Association hadn’t donated the equipment. When you think of all the schools the American Heart Association doesn’t have the funds to donate to, this (bill) really shouldn’t be all that difficult to get passed.”

The CPR in Schools bill introduced by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D- Long Beach, and Senator Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, is in the Education Committee in the Senate, and on June 3, was voted out of the Assembly Education Committee and is in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

Dr. Sulagna Mookherjee, a cardiologist at Albany Medical Center and a member of the Capital Region Advisory Board of the American Heart Association, said she can’t understand why the bill keeps being voted down.

“I don’t know why it’s been so hard to pass this bill. Every year, 424,000 suffer from cardiac arrest and only 10.4 percent survive,” said Mookherjee. “It’s the ultimate no-brainer. To know something that may take less than a sitcom — a half an hour sitcom or less — to learn how to save a life ... I don’t know why it hasn’t passed.”

During the rally on June 3, the American Heart Association unveiled pictures in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building of people who have been affected by cardiac arrest or of someone who has used CPR to save a life. One of those banners is for cardiac arrest survivor and Colonie resident Joey Mendrick.

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