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Kenner, La., Police Equip 75 Patrol Units with AEDs

KENNER, La. -- Within weeks of outfitting his patrol car with a defibrillator, Kenner police officer Ronald Coupel Jr. saved a man's life, officials said.

Coupel was one of the 75 officers to get an external defibrillator in November, as part of a $97,496 initiative approved by the City Council.

On Dec. 15, he responded to the ambulance request in the 2100 block of 42nd Street to find a 45-year-old Kenner man was in cardiac arrest. Coupel initiated CPR and, following the device's computerized instructions, used the defibrillator to shock the victim's heart back into rhythm. He administered aid for several more minutes until East Jefferson EMS arrived.

The victim's name was not released, and his current condition is unknown. But at the time of the incident, an Ochsner Medical Center physician attributed his survival until arriving at the hospital to Coupel using the defibrillator, Kenner spokeswoman Andrea Blakeway said.

The size of a laptop computer, external defibrillators can be attached to someone thought to be in cardiac arrest and prompt rescuers with voice and visual cues. The machine analyzes heart rhythm to determine whether a shock is needed, according to the American Heart Association.

Mayor Ed Muniz proposed using money from the 2003-04 capital budget to buy 75 of the devices, and the City Council agreed. After police officers were trained, the devices were installed in 75 patrol units.

The machines are dedicated to the late David Letellie.

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