When Indiana State Police Supt. Doug Carter took the podium during a media announcement with IU Health at IU Health North Hospital Sept. 28, he was moved by the donation of 15 Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDS) for his state troopers. After a surprise announcement at the end of the press conference, Carter had reason to be even more grateful to IU Health and Jon Goble, president of the hospital’s north region.
“Why can’t we put an AED in every police car?” Goble said. “That’s the objective. The faster we equip your vehicles with AEDS and give you the tools, the more lives we will save.”
To make that a reality, Goble announced that IU Health would pledge an additional 50 AEDs by the end of 2016. Those 50 are in addition to the 15 already pledged and also those funded through proceeds from the Bolt for the Heart 5K, which will take place in Carmel on Thanksgiving Day.
AEDs are predominately used on patients who suffer sudden cardiac arrest. Among the successes of AED use in the state of Indiana is Danny Rhoad, a 13-year-old Westfield boy whose life was saved by an AED that was stationed at Grand Park in May. He was playing baseball when a ball struck him in the chest. Coaches ran to a concession stand, which had an AED, and used the defibrillator to restore Rhoad’s heartbeat.
“Simply put, those people saved Danny’s life,” said Laura Rhoad, Danny’s mother. “Without the AED Danny wouldn’t be here. We’re grateful to be here, to be part of this celebration.”
Pierre Twer, president of Bolt for the Heart, spoke about three other instances in which an AED was applied. All three were administered by an Indiana state police officer, and two of the patients were successfully resuscitated.
“In these three examples, the heart was stopped,” Twer said. “In two of these examples, these people have gone on to live meaningful lives. And that’s because of you. That’s why this is so valuable and important to us.”
According to the Red Cross, more than 350,000 people in the U.S. will suffer a sudden cardiac arrest in 2016. Less than 8 percent will survive, and their survival rate drops by 10 percent every minute of inaction following the cardiac arrest. Thanks in large part to IU Health’s contribution and the money raised by Bolt for the Heart 5K, more people like Danny can survive.
“It’s a big deal, it’s a really big deal,” Carter said. “On duty, off duty, at Walmart, at the drug store, wherever it might be, the football fields, the baseball diamonds, anywhere around Indiana, this is a really big deal.”
For people who can’t make it to the Bolt for the Heart, a virtual run is an option. The registration fee is $20. Twer said virtual participants can send post-race photos in to be posted on Bolt for the Heart’s website, and all proceeds go toward supplying more AEDs.
“I never thought any group of people would step in and step out the way that they have, to work so hard to raise money to buy AEDS for people like this,” Carter said, motioning to the many Indiana State troopers seated to his left. “And that’s what’s happened.”