A dozen new heart defibrillators-the devices used to treat some cardiac arrest victims-were installed this week at the Daley Center.
The emergency machines, which provide an electric shock designed to restore normal heartbeat rhythm in cases where it has been disrupted enough to prevent the heart from pumping blood, have been provided in the Daley Center lobby and lower floors; the Jury Assembly Room; and in the reception areas of seven other upper floors.
Although the devices are designed to be used by untrained members of the public, more than 40 members of the Daley Center building staff already have been trained in its use with more to follow, according to executive director Eileen Carey of the Public Building Commission (PBC), which operates the Daley Center.
“These defibrillators are designed to help people suffering from ventricular fibrillation-which causes the majority of cardiac arrests-during the crucial few minutes before paramedics arrive,” Carey explained. According to the American Heart Association, there is a 50-50 chance of saving the victim’s life if needed defibrillation is provided within the first five minutes.
Each of the defibrillators cost $1,500, “but this expense will be worth it if even one life is saved as a result,” Carey said. The locations of the devices were determined in consultation with the University of Chicago’s Emergency Resuscitation Center based on pedestrian traffic through the building.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office previously installed two of these devices at the Daley Center, bringing the total number in the building to 14.
According to the American Heart Association, the steps to try and save a cardiac arrest victim start with calling 911, followed by CPR to keep oxygen flowing to the brain and heart. Once these two steps are taken, use of a defibrillator is recommended in case heart rhythm can be restored before the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel.