Holy Redeemer will donate defibrillator to Somerton Youth


Ber­nice O’Toole has had five chil­dren play sports at Somer­ton Youth Or­gan­iz­a­tion over the years.

In cases where a young play­er gets hit hard in the chest with a ball, or a coach or ref­er­ee has sud­den car­di­ac ar­rest, CPR or a call to 911 might be needed.

O’Toole, who is a nurse, has the ex­per­i­ence to know more aid could be ne­ces­sary.

“A de­fib­ril­lat­or is most im­port­ant,” she said.

O’Toole wanted SYO to ob­tain an auto­mated ex­tern­al de­fib­ril­lat­or for its ath­let­ic com­plex, at 1400 Southamp­ton Road. She called the of­fice of state Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-170th dist.), which con­tac­ted Holy Re­deem­er Health Sys­tem.

Holy Re­deem­er agreed to donate a de­fib­ril­lat­or and of­fi­cials from the health sys­tem and SYO re­cently joined O’Toole and Boyle for the of­fi­cial ded­ic­a­tion.

Boyle cred­ited O’Toole with mak­ing it hap­pen.

“One per­son can make a dif­fer­ence,” he said.

An ab­nor­mal heart rhythm called ventricu­lar fib­ril­la­tion can cause car­di­ac ar­rest, which means that the heart has un­ex­pec­tedly and ab­ruptly stopped beat­ing.

The only ef­fect­ive treat­ment for ventricu­lar fib­ril­la­tion is an elec­tric shock called de­fib­ril­la­tion, which is an elec­tric­al cur­rent — in the form of elec­trode pads — ap­plied to a clean, dry, bare chest. The AED will provide voice prompts and mes­sages.

The cur­rent helps the heart re­cog­nize the elec­tric­al activ­ity so it can pump blood again.

When an AED ad­min­is­ters an elec­tric shock with­in three minutes of car­di­ac ar­rest, it can make the dif­fer­ence in re­viv­ing people. The de­fib­ril­la­tion re­stores the nor­mal rhythm to the vic­tim’s heart and can in­crease sur­viv­al rates from less than 5 per­cent to al­most 75 per­cent. The rate in­creases to more than 90 per­cent fol­low­ing an im­me­di­ate de­fib­ril­la­tion.

O’Toole and Boyle pulled a red rib­bon to mark the AED’s ded­ic­a­tion on Sept. 11. SYO ath­let­ic dir­ect­or Fran Young and some young ath­letes at­ten­ded the ce­re­mony.

Russ Wag­n­er, a Somer­ton res­id­ent, former SYO coach and chief fin­an­cial of­ficer at Holy Re­deem­er, said he hopes the AED, which hangs on a wall in the gym, nev­er needs to be re­moved from its case. If it has to be ac­tiv­ated, he is con­fid­ent of a pos­it­ive out­come.

“It def­in­itely does help save lives,” he said. “Every­body should have one.”

Boyle said he ap­proached Holy Re­deem­er to be­come a com­munity part­ner be­cause of a lack of fund­ing for such ini­ti­at­ives at the state level.

The law­maker be­lieves AE­Ds can be ef­fect­ive at the loc­al youth sports level up to NFL train­ing camps.

“These sorts of ma­chines are ab­so­lutely needed,” he said. ••End­Frag­ment 

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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