California Group Pushes for Wider AED Distribution - News - @

California Group Pushes for Wider AED Distribution

Grogan continues her late husband's campaign to promote the placement of AEDs


MARY GOTTSCHALK, San Jose Mercury News | | Friday, May 27, 2011

In November 2002 an automated external defibrillator helped save Jack Grogan's life when he suffered sudden cardiac arrest on a flight leaving Chicago.

The AED not only saved his life, it changed it.

Following bypass surgery, Grogan became an advocate and volunteer instructor in the use of AEDs and CPR. He also co-founded the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, which has grown into the nation's largest nonprofit advocacy organization singularly focused on SCA.

Grogan continued his work for seven years, until February 2010, when he collapsed at Mineta San Jose Airport. Even though his son Dale was there and used an AED, it did not work a second time.

Grogan not only taught others to use an AED, he bought several and donated them.

In July 2010 one of those AEDs donated to Presentation High School in Willow Glen saved the life of Lynn Harris.

There to watch his daughters Emma, now a 17-year-old junior at Presentation, and Abby, now 11, participate in a swim meet, Harris remembers little of what happened that fateful day.

"I was there watching my children's swim meet, and I left my wife to get a drink of water and collapsed outside the pool area," he recalls.

"Fortunately, someone heard me fall, came out to take a look and called for help. A nurse watching the event came out and began the CPR process."

Paul Watts, pool manager at the school, ran to the gym for the AED machine and brought it back.

"They were able to use that to keep me going until an ambulance came," Harris says.

The ambulance took Harris to Valley Medical Center, treating what turned out to be ventricular fibrillation and a fractured skull, a result of his fall.

"I feel very fortunate," Harris says. "I feel very blessed there were people there to respond as quickly as they did and very thankful that Presentation had one of those devices or I wouldn't be here today."

As a result of that incident, Grogan's family recently donated another AED to the school for the pool area.

"I'm passionate about getting them into our schools," says Anita Grogan, Jack's widow. "I think it's terrible we don't have them in California schools. It's a safety thing. With cardiac arrest you need someone there very quickly to save the person. There's no warning, no pain. It just happens very quickly and only 5 to 7 percent who have cardiac arrest live."

Grogan, who worked alongside her late husband and has continued his campaign to promote the placement of AEDs, says she doesn't know the exact number they have helped place over the years but says, it's huge.

"We're doing as many as we can as we raise more money."

The AEDs work using electrical pads placed on the chest that deliver an electrical current to shock the heart back into a steady rhythm. They are constructed so that anyone not needing a shock will not receive one.

They are most effective if used immediately. The use of a defibrillator within the first minute of collapse shows survival rates of close to 90 percent. If 10 minutes passes before use, survival rates are close to zero.

When an AED is donated, Grogan says they also donate a training device that resembles an AED and helps people learn about and become more comfortable in their use.

An AED guides users with verbal instructions, but Grogan believes advance training is also important.

She likes to use Presentation High as an example because, she says, "Every girl in her sophomore year is trained with CPR and AED in a class."

Grogan's late husband worked with Dianne Lagana, chairwoman of the physical education department at the school, to set up the program and to get the school its first AED.

"Most schools in Santa Clara County don't have AEDs; they just don't have them, and very few do any CPR training," Grogan says. "In other states, every school in the state has them."

The cost of an AED is between $1,500 and $2,500, depending on accessories, Grogan says.

Her group is willing to help PTAs raise money and will provide instructors for any school that buys one.

For more information, visit .

Donations can be sent to the Jack Grogan Memorial AED Fund, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, 1250 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC, 20036.

Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy

Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, AED

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox


Fire EMS Blogs

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts


EMS Airway Clinic

Improving Survival from Cardiac Arrest Using ACD-CPR + ITD

Using active compression-decompression CPR with an ITD has been shown to improve 1-year survival from cardiac arrest by 33%.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

California Firefighters save Man on Flight

Patient was conscious and talking when United flight landed.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Over Half of Seattle Fire Stations Test Positive for MRSA

Surprisingly high results come from test kits based on earlier study.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

AMR Crew Rescues Mississippi Driver from Fiery Crash

Rescue during crash in Jackson is caught on video.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Hands On February 2015

Here’s a look at this month’s product hands on.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Nightwatch Series Premiere Party

JEMS Editor-in-Chief A.J. Heightman attends the series premiere of A&E's new reality show, "Nightwatch."
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Ottawa Chemical Investigation

Chemicals and suspicious package are probed at two locations
More >

Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >

More Product Videos >