Hospital donates three more AEDS to TCS

Jan. 14, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

In emergency situations where every second counts, an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) can be the difference between life and death.
Small, lightweight and portable, an AED uses electrical therapy to help a heart in arrhythmia re-establish a normal rhythm and avoid cardiac arrest. By design, these devices are easy-to-use and provide simple audio and visual commands for even the most novice operator.
Thomasville City Schools already had one of the life-saving devices on all four of its campuses, but administrators felt more were needed for the many sporting events every week.
A community partner made it happen.
Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center donated three more AEDs to Thomasville City Schools.
“I don't know that we've ever used an AED,” said Mary Jane Akerman, TCS wellness coordinator. “We've never needed one but it's the kind of thing that if you need it and don't have it, it's serious.”
TCS now has eight AEDs — one for every school, the central office and every athletic event held at either the high school or middle school. Davidson County Community College trained dozens of first responders from each school on how to use the devices, which also can easily be operated by someone who just happens to be at the right place at the right time.
“They really are dummy proof,” Akerman said. “We do think it's important to have trained staff because there is a level of competence in the event of an emergency. We have trained staff in every school and at the central office on CPR and AED use. That's something we make sure we do every year.”
TCS is one of the few school systems in the state to have a full-time nurse on all four of its campuses. Additional AEDs provide nurses with another tool to ensure student and faculty safety.
“I think it's important because you don't know if an emergency is going to happen,” said Penny Siegelin, a nurse at Thomasville Middle School. “If you are prepared, you have a chance at saving someone's life. We're very appreciative to have one.”
AEDs cost as much as $1,700.
Karen Hedrick, nurse at Thomasville High School, said school systems need community partners like Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center in order to provide the best care possible.
“You can't put a price on life,” Hedrick said. “It's wonderful that TMC donated the AEDs because every second that you delay defibrillation decreases the likelihood of survival. I've worked in several school systems and this one is unique in that it's a small system and we have such wonderful community sponsors such as Thomasville Medical Center.”
Jane Murphy, public relations director at Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center, said the AED donation is another way the hospital reaches out to the community.
“We have always partnered with the local school system to try and bring health and wellness programs to the students and teachers,” said Murphy. “We're happy to be able to make sure these schools are updated with AEDs should the need arise. Time is critical when emergencies like that happen. Every life is precious and we want to make sure they have the tools they need. With all the activities going on at the schools, we want everyone to be taken care of.”

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or duke@tvilletimes.com.