The automated external defibrillators dispersed through La Plata County
as first responders for incidents of sudden cardiac arrest have been
called on about 15 times since the program began in 2003.Although
not always put into action, the AEDs are a resource that can be called
on if professional emergency medical teams are not immediately
available, said Barbara Lawson, the secretary of Heart Safe La Plata.
The agency was formed to make AEDs available in areas where people tend
to congregate, such as malls, schools and churches.
anecdotes were reported by Lawson, Fort Lewis College spokesman Mitch
Davis, Durango Parks and Recreation Director Cathy Metz and Sheila
Casey, director of La Plata County Senior Services.
Two incidents occurred within a couple of weeks of each other at the Dalton Ranch Golf Club in June 2007:
•The first incident - a heart attack on the links - occurred just as
a cardiopulmonary resuscitation/automated external defibrillator
training session was ending. Two freshly minted AED operators answered
the call but weren't needed.
•Two weeks later, a golfer was struck by lightning. Again an AED was taken to the scene but wasn't needed.
Both victims, treated at Mercy Regional Medical Center, survived.
as prompt a use of an AED occurred at the La Plata County senior
center. A center staff member who had been trained in CPR/AED along
with all her co-workers the day before used CPR and the AED to
stabilize the condition of a man who had collapsed until an emergency
medical team arrived. The man survived.
•A couple of months ago,a man collapsed near the post office on west Eighth Street. An alert
passer-by ran to the Main Mall a block away and returned with the AED
quartered there. The device wasn't needed because the Durango Fire
& Rescue Authority team had arrived.
•In February, lifeguards
at the Durango Community Recreation Center attached an AED to a man who
had collapsed but didn't fire the device because the computer advised
that a shock wasn't needed.
•In December 2008, a Fort Lewis
College police officer applied two shocks to an area resident who
collapsed while walking near the campus. The victim didn't survive.
a recent campus incident, an FLC police officer prepared to shock a
teenager who passed out while attending a summer camp. The AED advised
that it wasn't necessary. The girl recovered.
•In December 2007,a La Plata County Sheriff's deputy used the AED in his patrol car in a
futile attempt to resuscitate a woman who had collapsed near Bayfield.
on the list of places an AED has been at least unpacked are the
Durango/La Plata Senior Center and the Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio.