NCED issues statement on defibrillator death

June 17, 2002

A recent report in the Chicago Tribune refers to a death that allegedly resulted from misuse of a defibrillator. The case involved two maintenance workers who were cleaning a health care facility in LaGrange, Illinois, on May 22, and in the course of "horseplay" with a manual defibrillator, one of the men died. The other was charged with manslaughter on June 12 and is being held at Cook County Jail.

To clarify any confusion that may arise from the incident, the National Center for Early Defibrillation (NCED), a non-profit organization based at the University of Pittsburgh, has issued the following statement:

"The ‘defibrillator death’ that occurred recently in the Chicago area did not involve the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). The device in question was a manual defibrillator intended for use by trained medical personnel. Apparently, the device was deliberately misused by a layperson with no authorization or training.

This incident should not raise concerns about AEDs, which can be used safely and effectively by minimally trained laypersons and cannot be made to shock inappropriately."

For further information, contact NCED at 1-866-AED-INFO or