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A Life Saving Program

March 11, 2011, 6:10 PM by Kelli Grant

A Life Saving Program
SIOUX FALLS, SD - If you're headed out to a restaurant or to a high school basketball game this weekend, ask if they have an AED, also know as a Defibrillator.

You might be surprised to find out they are equipped with the life saving machine. the Avera Heart Hospital wants to make every public place you visit is prepared for the worst.

In every single one of these boxes is a machine that could save your life.

It's called an AED, or automatic external defibrillator. If you're heart stops, this machine goes to work.

“It deploys an energy to the heart and resynchronizes the heart through electricity,” North Central Heart Cardiologist Dr. Bruce Watt said.

Talking you through the motions, it's designed for the bystander, the husband, the daughter, the stranger that jumps into help.

It's a machine Avera Heart Hospital President and CEO, Jon Soderholm, wants to see everywhere you go.

“We've had some great saves across the area. People who wouldn't have lived if the AED you know hadn't been there,” Soderholm said.

Ten-years ago, Soderholm helped get an AED into the Harrisburg fire station. A decade later he's still buying and selling the machines at cost, for one-thousand dollars.

“I told them I'd pay them a thousand dollars a piece and they looked at me funny like where are you from? And I said, 'Well how many do you wanna sell?’" Soderholm said.

Since the Avera PAD Program began, nearly one-thousand AEDs are out in the community - even as far as Tennessee.

And they've saved lives like Dan Sudbeck, a referee who suffered cardiac arrest during halftime at an O'Gorman Girl's basketball game.

“It's awesome when you can have a save like Mr. Sudbeck. There's a good chance he might not have made it without the machine,” Soderholm said.

And thanks to the program, these kinds of saves are becoming more frequent.

“The heart going without organized activity for four seconds, you're unconscious. And it's from that point that you have all the impact to make before permanent brain damage can occur,” Watt said.

For more information call 605-977-7000

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