A Simple Solution to Heart Attacks in Public

Personal Injury

In today's video we're talking about heart attacks in public places, like schools. Editor in Chief Larry Bodine interviews Craig Goldenfarb, the owner of the Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb in West Palm Beach, Florida, a personal injury plaintiff’s firm. He practices in the area of law known as AED litigation, and he’s the chairperson of the Automated External Defibrillator Litigation Group, for the American Association of Justice.

The American Heart Association says there are about 300,000 to 350,000 heart attacks per year that cause death, and a large majority of them take place in public places, like an office building or school.

Goldenfarb says that medical studies show that if an AED - an Automated External Defibrillator - is used within three minutes of a person having a heart attack, there is a 90% likelihood of saving a person's life.

15-year old collapses

In Florida, Abel Limones was a 15 year-old high school soccer player who suddenly collapsed on the field during a match between two Lee County schools. He had suffered an unexpected heart attack. Though there was an AED on the field at the time (which was required by law) and it was within reach, and even though one of the coaches at his side called out for it, the device was never brought to Abel’s side. He ended up having brain damaged as the result of no one getting the AED.

The issue whether business owner and schools have a duty to have an AED available and to use it. According to Goldenfarb, a Florida Supreme Court decision expanded the common law duty a public school and its employees owe a student to not only prevent injuries or harm, but also to administer reasonable treatment to avoid worsening of further injury or harm after the fact. By not using the readily-available AED while Abel was having a heart attack, the School Board employees (the soccer team coaches and staff) in fact breached their duty.

A new Florida Supreme Court Decision said a school must have AEDs but also to use them. Florida courts have recognized a special relationship exists between schools and their students, which requires a school to have an AED and also to use it.

AEDs should be as common as fire extinguishers. The building code in every state requires that there be fire extinguishers and they cost only about $1,000. I would like to see a law applied that every building have defibrillators. “If we’re all required to have fire extinguishers, we should be required to have AEDs too,” Goldenfarb said.

To find out more, contact Craig Goldenfarb at (561) 444-4440 and visit www.800goldlaw.com for more information about AEDs.


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