Milwaukee (5/30/2006) - Gov. Jim Doyle today signed into law a bill (Wisconsin Senate Bill 186) that releases any layperson of liability, trained or untrained, should they use an automated external defibrillator (AED) in an attempt to save another person's life. This provides immunity from civil liability for users, owners and providers of AEDs for acts or omissions in rendering emergency care. Doyle signed the bill today at the Fox Bay Theatre in Whitefish Bay, Wis. A representative from Project ADAM also attended.
"This is a major win for Wisconsin," said Aimee Gironimi, administrator, Project ADAM. "Time is of the essence when a student or adult collapses from sudden cardiac arrest. Of course we advocate for proper AED training, but now there will be no question of liability if an untrained student, staff member or community uses the device in good faith during an emergency situation."
When a rescuer uses an AED, the patient's chance for survival increases drastically. AEDs are made to detect ventricular defibrillation (VF) (an erratic heart rate that prevents blood from correctly flowing to the body). The AED can and will only shock the patient if VF is present. The ease of use and efficiency of an AED allows the layperson to respond to a sudden cardiac arrest employing all components of the chain of survival (early 9-1-1 call, early cardiopulmonary resuscitation, early defibrillation and early emergency medical care). While the new AED law does not require the layperson to be trained in the use of CPR and AEDs, training is recommended as part of a community commitment to employing the chain of survival.
Project ADAM (Automated Defibrillators in Adam's Memory), a program of the Herma Heart Center at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, helps schools across the nation implement defibrillation programs. This program helps schools determine the need for AEDs, secure funding, provide program implementation templates and assist with effective marketing of the program. Project ADAM also helps schools develop a curriculum that would require CPR/AED certification for students prior to high school graduation.
Project ADAM began in the fall of 1999 when in the span of three months, four youths died unexpectedly from SCA while playing sports in Southeastern Wisconsin, including a high school student named Adam Lemel. Driven by the desire of Adam's parents, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and friends of Adam Lemel, this program is leaving a life saving legacy in memory of those who had no fighting chance for survival.