Letter The Risks of Not Having an AED

Letter: The Risks of Not Having an AED

Dr. Glenn W. Laub, Defibtech CEO, Defibtech CEO
March 10, 2009

The Wall Street Journal’s recent article, “Why Hotels Resist Defibrillators,” highlighted concerns about automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and liability that many other industries and organizations have overcome. Yes, deploying and maintaining AEDs and training employees on how to use them requires responsibility and a degree of risk. But have hotels considered the risks of not having AEDs?

As your article reported, many organizations, including some hotel chains, have implemented AED programs that have already saved lives. Just a few days ago, for example, Good Samaritan rescuers in Boston using a Defibtech AED saved a man at a commuter train station. This save occurred due to federal and state Good Samaritan laws that protect rescuers from unfair lawsuits. Thousands of lives have been saved by AEDs because individuals have been able to trust their natural impulse to respond to a victim rather than being afraid of getting sued.

The liability tide is shifting in favor of having AEDs. Individuals have successfully sued airlines, amusement parks, transit authorities and other organizations because AEDs were not available or because employees did not receive proper AED training.

Hotel executives should also reference a 2000 study from the New England Journal of Medicine that has special relevance to the hotel and hospitality industry. This study reported that casinos achieved a sudden cardiac arrest survival rate of 74 percent when security guards equipped with AEDs treated victims within three minutes.

I strongly encourage all hotel executives to protect their customers from sudden cardiac arrest through the implementation of a well-planned, managed and maintained AED program.