AED helps save life of school district employee

Thursday, November 19, 2009 | 1:28 p.m. CST; updated 10:04 p.m. CST, Thursday, November 19, 2009

COLUMBIA — Fast thinking and technology is credited with saving the life of a carpenter Tuesday at Hickman High School.  

Virgil Bramblett was working at the school when he went into cardiac arrest after complaining of chest pains. Linda Evans and Cara Baker, who both work in the nurse's office, immediately started CPR and called 911.

Meanwhile, an assistant principal ran to get an automated external defibrillator. 

Evans said the AED arrived in a minute and that she was able to use it to help Bramblett.

“Minutes count,” said Evans, who is a registered nurse.

AEDs monitor a patient’s heartbeat and determine whether  it can be regulated by administering a shock, Evans said.

Maureen Kuchy of the American Red Cross said CPR and the use of an AED can increase the chance of a patient surviving cardiac arrest by 90 percent.

“It keeps the blood flowing, the heart pumping and the oxygen flowing throughout the body,” Kuchy said.

Evans is a CPR instructor, so she is trained in the use of an AED and gets lots of practice by teaching five CPR fairs every year.

“The beauty of an AED is anyone can use it,” Evans said. “You do not need a nursing degree or even a college education."

The American Red Cross provides a three-hour class for people to learn how to use AEDs and perform CPR.

All gym facilities in Columbia have an AED, Kuchy said. Boone County has 47 registered AEDs, not including the 52 at MU, said Genalee Alexander of the Columbia/Boone County Health Department.

All AEDs must be registered with the health department and the person, company or organization responsible for the AED must provide some training for intended users.

This is the first time Hickman’s AED was used since it was purchased about three years ago, Evans said. Bramblett was released from the hospital Thursday and was feeling better, his wife, Brenda Bramblett, said.

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