CSU Long Beach -- August 20, 2003

CSULB Staff Members To Receive Governor's Safety Award For Work On Automated External Defibrillator Program

A pair of staff members in Student Health Services at California State University, Long Beach have been selected to receive the Governor’s Employee Safety Award for their efforts in developing and implementing an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) program on the campus. Since the program was begun, five lives have been saved.

Clinical Coordinator Lawrence Harvey and Physician Christian Jagusch will be honored at a special ceremony in Sacramento on Friday, Aug. 22, for their workplace safety efforts, which included the training of more than 80 university employees in the proper usage of AEDs.

“The efforts of Christian Jagusch and Lawrence Harvey have greatly contributed to the health and safety of the university community and visitors to Cal State Long Beach,” said Chief Jack Pearson of the University Police Department, which nominated the two for the award.

Maryann Rozanski, director of CSULB’s Office of Safety and Risk Management, added: “Since the deployment of AEDs on campus, they have been used six times by trained campus employees to successfully revive individuals in full cardiac arrest. There is little doubt that these individuals’ efforts directly contributed to the saving of those lives.”

According to recent statistics, some 250,000 Americans died of sudden cardiac arrest—nearly one death every two minutes. And, according to the American Red Cross, up to 50,000 of these deaths could have been prevented if proper lifesaving procedures had been initiated and an automated external defibrillator had been available for immediate use.

About the size of a laptop computer, an AED analyzes the heart’s rhythm for any abnormalities, and, if necessary, it directs the rescuer to deliver an electrical shock to the victim. The shock, called defibrillation, may help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm of its own.

The device is easy to operate. It uses voice prompts to instruct the rescuer. Once the machine is turned on, the rescuer is prompted to apply two electrodes provided with the AED to the victim’s chest. Once applied, the AED will begin monitoring the victim’s heart rhythm. If a “shockable” rhythm is detected, the machine will charge itself and instruct the rescuer to stand clear of the victim and press the shock button.

“Cal State Long Beach is a perfect location for AEDs,” said Harvey, the AED manager. “I mean, we are very much like a small city. We have more than 34,000 students and 4,500 employees. Then, add to that the various venues and events (Carpenter Center, The Pyramid, conferences, camps) we have here on campus which attract thousands of visitors each year. This is a perfect place for this type of training and equipment.”

Harvey and Jagusch began the process of bringing the AEDs to campus two years ago. Together, they developed a policy and procedure manual and submitted it the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Office of Certification, for approval. At about the same time, university police officers and personnel from Student Health Services and the Office of Safety and Risk Management were trained to respond to cardiac emergencies, including the proper use of AEDs.

When the county gave its approval, four of the external defibrillators were placed on campus—three with the University Police and the other with Student Health Services. Over the last 15 months or so, the AEDs have been used in six separate instances, including three cardiac arrests that resulted in two saved lives. A faculty member was among those saved with the device.

“Using the AEDs six times in about 12 months is a lot. Three times is a lot,” said Dr. Jagusch, the AED medical director who is now an emergency medicine physician at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Orange County. “Usually, the AEDs sit on a shelf and never get used at most places.”

Jagusch noted that in Los Angeles County the survival rate of a person who suffers a cardiac emergency outside of a hospital is less than 5 percent. Survival, he said, depends on how quickly an AED unit gets to the victim, adding, “Since the AEDs have been placed on campus, the survival rate of cardiac arrest victims on campus has been 66 percent.”

Since the implementation of the program on campus, Harvey and Jagusch have traveled to the American College Health Association annual national conference in Washington, D.C. to present “Establishing AEDs on a College Campus.” It is their hope that other colleges and universities around the country will see the value of having such programs in place.

Established in 1980, the Governor’s Employee Safety Awards recognize individuals and groups of employees who distinguish themselves through outstanding safety and health service to the state. Awards have been presented for lifesaving, responding to hazardous events and for developing safety programs that were not part of the recipients’ normal duties. The awards are presented for projects and events completed during the previous year.

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