Each year, sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of more than 350,000 people in America. Studies show that survivability rates can be greatly improved if victims are treated immediately with defibrillation, an electrical pulse that can help the heart resume a more normal, productive rhythm. But time is critical. Defibrillation must be applied within minutes of the attack as survival rates drop to less than 2 percent after only 10 minutes. The problem is that it takes the average U.S. emergency medical services (EMS) team six to 12 minutes to respond to the scene of the medical emergency. Many of the automated external defibrillators now on the market are designed so that even those with minimal training can use them successfully.
Seeking to vastly reduce the number of workplace deaths from sudden cardiac arrest, the Hartford Financial Services Group and Medtronic Physio-Control announced at the Risk and Insurance Management Society's annual conference (RIMS) in New Orleans last week that they have joined in an innovative initiative to make automated external defibrillators (AEDs) a common safety device in offices, factories and other places of employment.
"We have new technology to save thousands of lives. Our challenge is to get that technology to the people who need it in time to make a difference," said Alan Relyea, CIH, CSP, The Hartford's executive technical consultant for loss control services. "We are proud to help our customers have affordable access to a device that can literally mean the difference between life and death."
The Hartford, one of the nation's leading providers of workers' compensation, group disability and other insurance for employers, and Medtronic, one of the country's top manufacturers of AEDs, are making the easy-to-use devices and associated services available to The Hartford's policyholders at a significantly discounted cost. The program will be called HartSense.
"The Hartford, through its loss control department, has long been committed to helping its customers reduce injuries and loss," said Relyea. "The HartSense program will go a long way toward reducing the human suffering and loss associated with sudden cardiac arrest."
Brent Melancon, Medtronic's director of commercial business, noted that more than 80,000 AEDs are already on-site in public spaces nationwide, adding, "Automated defibrillators have proven their effectiveness and ease of use in airports, schools, golf courses and other public spaces. AEDs deserve to be a common fixture in every place of business."
edited by Sandy Smith ([email protected])