DEFIBRILLATORS: House Wants Device in Federal Buildings
House lawmakers passed legislation yesterday that would improve accessibility of automatic external defibrillators in federal buildings. Passed on a 415-2 vote, HR 2498 would require HHS to develop guidelines for the placement of the medical devices in federal buildings and would protect those administering care with a defibrillator from lawsuits. The laptop-sized machine measures a victim's heart rate to determine whether an electrical shock is needed to restore a cardiac rhythm. According to the bill's chief sponsor, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), 30% of the 200,000-300,000 sudden cardiac arrest victims each year could be saved if they had access to automatic defibrillators. Stearns said that it is "inexcusable that we do not have these lifesaving devices widely available in federal buildings across the United States. We need to be a role model for the private sector." Endorsed by the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross, the legislation now moves to the Senate ( AP/Nando Times, 5/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.