Centennial High Student Collapses and Dies

Centennial High Student Collapses and Dies

By: Corinne Ruiz

Topics: Sudden Cardiac Arrest in our Youth
Posted by cvruiz Monday, November 19, 2012 - 13:28
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November 16, 2012, I received a call from a friend to let me know that a Centennial High student, Caleb Hannink, collapsed and died from sudden cardiac arrest, due to a heart condition. My heart and prayers go out to Caleb's family.

 After hanging up the phone, I sat back in my chair and cried. I felt overwhelming sadness and anger.

It seems the school was aware of Caleb's heart condition as he was cleared for sports.

If this is the case, why didn't the school do something to get an AED into their school?

Yes, 911 was called and the ambulance arrived within 5 minutes but when in arrest, every second/minute is precious.

Every minute that passes, chances of survival decrease by 7 to 10%. More than 70% of all sudden cardiac arrest victims are saved by AEDs.

Secondly, we visited Centennial High last year and taught Freshmen and Sophomores how to perform CPR and use an AED. We were asked why their school didn't have an AED. We told the school that the KHSD board will not approve implementation of AED Programs because California does not mandate them to do so. 

Sadness - I too lost my 14 year old daughter Olivia to sudden cardiac arrest, due to an undetected heart condition April 22, 2004.

Anger - For almost 2 years I have been trying to get AEDs into our high schools. I have spoken to the KHSD Board several times. I never received a response or call asking to meet and discuss further.  Why? Liability.

There is a misperception that having an AED places greater liability on the entity that installs the device. We, AED Advocates, are told by school or athletic administrators that they do not want to have AEDs because of the fear of increased liability.

Good Samaritan laws exist in virtually all states. This means individuals cannot be held liable for the harm of a victim by providing improper or inadequate care if the harm was not intentional. It is true that AEDs must be maintained, and someone on site should be assigned the task of routinely checking the battery, making sure the AED is always user ready.

But the "fear of liability" issue as an excuse for not having AEDs is not supported or justified. Approximately 7,000 children lose their lives to Sudden Cardiac Arrest every year. It occurs suddenly and without warning, and is typically caused by an electrical storm in the heart, an abnormal heart rhythm. Sudden Cardiac Arrest kills more than 350,000 Americans each year.

We must remove the fear and blinders preventing us from understanding the very real threat of Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Once in sudden cardiac arrest, the only treatment is a shock to the heart. Our choices are to wait for EMS, or take control with an AED.

How do we take control? With an AED Program.

I am currently working with The Via Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives in schools. Via will assist school districts and handle all elements of a comprehensive AED program, with no cost to the school.

Parents, it's time we all work together to eliminate preventable deaths from sudden cardiac arrest, which continue to occur all too often. It's time to establish Emergency Action Plans in schools and school athletic programs with training in CPR and deployment of AEDs?

We must do all we can to protect our kids and Keep Young Hearts Beating!