Thanks to the local employees of Boston Scientific, every school in the William S. Hart Union High School District possesses a device that could save a child’s life.
“Boston Scientific has a huge focus on cardiology,” said Lynne Secrest, a retired Boston Scientific employee and current vice chair of the WiSH foundation, “so every year we do a fundraiser for heart awareness month.”
This year, one of the employee resource groups wanted to raise funds for automated external defibrillators for the local schools, Secrest said, because the machines have been proven to save lives on at least one occasion and a few teachers have asked for more to be installed in the district.
After raising more than $1,000, the employees donated the money and then submitted paperwork that asked the company to match the funds.
“The goal is to buy each campus an AED,” Secrest said, or a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses life-threatening cardiac irregularities and is able to treat them through defibrillation — the application of electricity that allows the heart to re-establish an effective rhythm.
“While most of the high schools have AEDs in the main office and gym, two high schools had only one AED on campus,” Secrest said.
“Most people don’t think kids will ever need a machine that could restart their heart, but when they’re out on the soccer field and an accident happens and their heart stops,” she added, “we want to make sure we have the tools there to make sure we can get it started again.”
Even though there’s a fast response rate from emergency services, Secrest said preparation is key, because every second counts when a child’s heartbeat has halted.
With simple audio and visual commands, AEDs are designed to be easy to use by anyone to possibly save a life, Secrest said. “Anybody can use them because the machine will evaluate if anything is needed or not. If it’s not needed, then it won’t give an electric stimulation.”
This is just about taking care of the kids in the school district, Secrest said. “Children’s health and safety are just as important as academics.”