College installs emergency defibrillator equipment
In an effort to prevent fatalities due to cardiac arrest, Facilities Management and the Athletic Department installed an automatic external defibrillator (AED) in the hallway leading to Morrell Gym at the start of the academic year.
Members of the Brosnan family donated the AED to Bowdoin last spring in honor of Jim Brosnan, a Facilities Management employee who died of a heart attack on campus last year. Brosnan's immediate family, Bowdoin Security Director Bruce Boucher and Vice President for Planning and Development Bill Torrey were among those present at a ceremony to dedicate the apparatus to Brosnan. The intimate gathering took place last June after students had left the campus.
According to Don Krane, Head Athletic Trainer, the Brosnan family asked that the AED be kept in the area where Jim Brosnan worked, between Morrell and Sargent Gyms. According to Krane, the hallway leading to Morrell Gym was an appropriate location for the AED because of the athletic facilities in the area and the high concentration of people in Smith Union. "We didn't want to keep it in Morrell Gym," said Krane, "because people wouldn't have access to it if the Gym were locked."
The AED restores a normal heartbeat to the patient by emitting an electrical shock through pads that are placed on the patient's chest. AEDs promote blood flow throughout the body, especially to the brain, and restore a patient's consciousness. The apparatus is usually used as a last resort if the patient does not respond to Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
One of the values of the $2,500 machine is its ease of use. Operators, who do not require special training, must only turn on the AED, attach electrical pads to the patient's chest and listen to an instructional recording emitted from the machine. The AED monitors the breathing and heart rate of the individual to determine if it needs to administer electrical shocks. According to Boucher, operation of the machine is so easy that "even a sixth grader could do it." Ann Goodenow, Assistant Director for Facilities Services, said that the machine's portability also contributes to its life-saving capabilities because it can be carried to the patient's location.
The American Heart Association estimates that 20,000 lives would be saved every year in the United States if AEDs were more widely available. Although the AED in the hallway leading to Morrell has not yet been used since its installation, the Brosnan family hopes that it will prevent another heart-related fatality from occurring at Bowdoin.
Don Krane, Head Athletic Trainer, hopes to place more AEDs in high-traffic areas throughout the Bowdoin campus. "We're looking to get more in the next few years, but it depends on what we can afford."