Olson, Connolly Act to Save Lives Impacted by Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) and Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) today acted to help save lives impacted by sudden cardiac arrest by introducing H.R. 4152, the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act. This bill will help increase the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) by eliminating the threat of frivolous lawsuits through development of a nationally uniform baseline of protection for persons who use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) while attempting to save a life during a medical emergency.
â€œIn a cardiac emergency, defibrillation is the best defense and quick use of AEDs can save lives,â€ Rep. Pete Olson said. â€œThe threat of unnecessary lawsuits on AED users should never stand in the way of providing emergency medical assistance. This common sense solution provides peace of mind by removing this threat and will encourage greater deployment of AEDs in public and private establishments. Wider use of AEDs will reduce response times and could save an additional 36,000 lives per year."
Rep. Gerald Connolly said, â€œAccess to AEDs is critical to saving lives during a cardiac emergency. In local government I made it a priority that County buildings and schools deploy this lifesaving technology, and that staff have the knowledge and training to use these tools effectively. This legislation will ensure we donâ€™t allow fear of liability or a patchwork of differing protections across the states to prevent an individual or business from taking all necessary measures to save a life.â€
Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences & Director of Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at GW Hospital said, â€œMore than 350,000 Americans experience a sudden cardiac arrest every year and 9 out of 10 will die as a consequence. More people die every year from SCA than from breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, and HIV combined. Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can promptly resuscitate many of these patients but a confusing array of laws governing these simple to use lifesaving devices has impaired their widespread placement. The Cardiac Arrest Survival Act of 2015 (HR4152) will create a uniform level of liability protection for businesses wishing to implement this essential and easy to use technology. This law has the ability to save countless lives.â€
According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation: In the U.S. alone, approximately 326,200 people of all ages experience EMS-assessed out-of-hospital non-traumatic SCA each year and nine out of 10 victims die. Approximately 60 percent of those victims could be saved if someone intervenes and responds by engaging the emergency system, performing CPR and locating and using an AED. Sadly, survival rates for out-of-hospital SCA victims have remained a low eight percent for thirty years. Immediate CPR and early defibrillation, using an AED, can more than double a patientâ€™s chance of survival, but only if a person acts. Olson consulted with Dr. Reiner about issues facing healthcare providers and the need for the legislation.
Olson Media Contact: Melissa Kelly