An AED in every school

February 27, 2002

The New York State Assembly and Senate have unanimously passed a bill that requires all public schools to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) on the premises. The original language of the bill called for AED placement at schools with a population of 1,000 or more but it was amended to require AED placement in all public schools. The Governor is expected to sign the bill soon.

This represents great news for Karen and John Acompora, who worked tirelessly to promote the legislation in memory of their son, Louis, a victim of sudden cardiac arrest, who died suddenly on March 25, 2000 at the age of 14, during a Northport High School (Northport, NY) freshman lacrosse game. Ever since, the Acomporas have labored to promote AED access in schools throughout Suffolk County and beyond through the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation.

Even more rewarding than their impact on the legislature, is the understanding that at least one life has been saved as result of the Acompora’s mission. On January 13, 2002, Muhammad Shah, 15, a sophomore at nearby Smithtown High School, with a pre-existing heart condition and a pacemaker, went into cardiac arrest when climbing stairs between classes. The school’s AED response team responded immediately with its newly acquired AED. After three shocks, Shah’s pulse returned. He has since received an implantable device that functions as both a pacemaker and defibrillator. He is expected to return to school by April.

Thanks to the efforts of the Acomporas and the foresight of the New York legislature, many future victims may survive sudden death.

For information on the New York bill, click here and here.

For a report on the case of Muhammad Shah, click here.

For a summary of grassroots efforts on AEDs in schools, click here.