New Kiosks Offer Helpful Information on Defibrillators, Sudden Cardiac Arrest at Morristown Memorial, Overlook
By Atlantic Health
Atlantic Ambulance’s Atlantic HeartSmart AED recently unveiled two new kiosks designed to educate visitors at Morristown Memorial and Overlook Hospital about the dangers of sudden cardiac arrest and the importance of having defibrillators close by when they occur.
A recent ceremony to unveil the kiosks brought together representatives from organizations who advocate awareness of sudden cardiac arrest and integrating defibrillator use and training in the community and home. The unveiling also highlighted the recent efforts of Atlantic HeartSmart to offer defibrillators for sale to patients and the public in a hospital setting and its ongoing work with community organizations.
The kiosks, which stand about seven feet tall, each display a Philips home automated external defibrillator (AED), its battery and a set of the pads that would be used on a patient.
Near the top of the kiosk is a monitor that plays a video which describes sudden cardiac arrest and explains how the AED is used. Atlantic HeartSmart AED, part of the Atlantic Ambulance Corporation, created the kiosks and collaborated with Atlantic Health, to place them in areas of Morristown Memorial Hospital and Overlook Hospital in highly visited areas of the hospitals. One kiosk is located in the lobby of Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute at Morristown Memorial Hospital, while the other is located in the main lobby of Overlook Hospital. “These kiosks will fulfill a vital role in the continuum of care Atlantic Health provides to patients and visitors, by educating them about how to protect themselves after they have left the hospitals,” said Joyce Hildenbrand, LCSW, manager, Atlantic HeartSmart AED.
The kiosks are intended to raise awareness about the deadliness of sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs about 80 percent of the time at home. According to the American Heart Association, the use of a defibrillator within a few minutes of the onset of sudden cardiac arrest can reverse its effects. While the AMA has no statistics for the exact number of cardiac arrests that occur each year, emergency medical services treat nearly 300,000 victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. It is estimated that more than 95 percent of cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital. In cities where defibrillation is provided within 5 to 7 minutes, the survival rate from sudden cardiac arrest is as high as 30–45 percent.
“Experience has shown that time can make all the difference when sudden cardiac arrest occurs, and having the training and equipment readily available to treat it are invaluable tools,” Maryann Villone, RN, coordinator of Atlantic HeartSmart AED.
At the unveiling of the kiosks, members of Atlantic Health’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute, such as Frank Smart, MD, chairman of cardiovascular medicine, and Steven Sheris, MD, chief of cardiology for Overlook Hospital, were joined by representatives from other organizations who share the understanding of the importance of AED use and training. Among the guests were JoAnne Taylor Babbitt, who founded the John Taylor Babbitt Foundation to honor her son, who died at age 16 from an undiagnosed heart condition while playing basketball. In addition to raising awareness of heart disease and supporting research on genetic cardiac disorders, the foundation works to install defibrillators in schools, athletic venues and public gathering places. The foundation, working with Atlantic HeartSmart AED and Chatham Borough and Township, recently installed 15 defibrillators at athletic fields in both municipalities. The Foundation and Atlantic HeartSmart are also working on a template that can be used by other towns to implement AED programs.
“Raising awareness about how to prevent sudden cardiac death is a key component of the work we do with our foundation, and critical for our success,” Mrs. Babbitt said. “According to the American Heart Association, sudden cardiac arrest is widely misunderstood so I am very pleased to be part of this initiative to help educate people about what can be done to prevent deaths due to cardiac arrhythmias.”
Lisa Salberg, of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association, also attended and spoke at the unveiling. Salberg founded the non-profit organization formed to provide information, support and advocacy to patients, their families and medical providers about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in which heart muscle abnormally thickens.
“I am thrilled to see AED education and access made so understandable and accessible to the visitors of Atlantic Health Hospitals,” Salberg said. “With greater understanding of AED’s and more placed in homes, community centers, schools and places of business, we can begin to make greater strides toward the goal of lower deaths related to sudden cardiac arrest.” The kiosks also feature information on how patients, their caregivers and the general public can purchase the device from Atlantic HeartSmart, an authorized distributor of the Philips HeartStart AED.
David C. Columbus, National Sales Manager for the Philips HeartStart Home Defibrillator, said Atlantic HeartSmart is the first organization to make the Philips device available to purchase through a hospital setting. “Atlantic HeartSmart has taken a very progressive approach by offering defibrillators in hospitals, something which will help enhance the safety of patients after they leave the hospital,” Columbus said.
Photo above: Mark Mason (VP – Mason Display Innovations); David C. Columbus; JoAnne Babbitt(VP -John Taylor Babbitt Foundation); Ralph Huttick(Account Manager, EMS and Fire Rescue – Philips Healthcare); Lisa Salberg(Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Foundation); Maryann Villone, coordinator of Atlantic HeartSmart AED; Joyce Hildenbrand, manager, Atlantic HeartSmart AED; Steven Sheris, MD, chief of cardiology, Overlook Hospital; Ernie Lamberski(Indirect Channel Manager – Philips Healthcare); and Richard Donovan, director of Atlantic Ambulance Corporation stand in front of the recently unveiled kiosk in the lobby of Overlook Hospital.
Photo courtesy of Atlantic Health