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2 Days Left and So Much to Do!

With only two days left before the legislators break for the summer we need a last push to get some critical legislations to help our kids passed. The House still needs to take action on legislation that would require all coaches to know CPR, restricting the sale and use of E-Cigarettes, and requiring healthy vending in State Buildings and the Senate has a chance to pass legislation that would provide quality physical education in our schools. We also have a chance to get some language in around setting up a stroke system of care and we are waiting for final approval on fresh food financing.

Your legislators are hearing from all advocates in these last few days, it is crucial that your voices is being heard too so if you have not already taken action please do so today! Send an email or call your legislators today and let them know that these issues are important to you! I  appreciate your help and your continued advocacy we only have a few days to pass some important legislative priorities, and I hope to be passing along some good news on Friday!

 

  

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Stratis Health Awards Heart Disease and Diabetes

Check out this article featuring AHA's Justin Bell and advocate Albert Tsai, posted by the Minnesota Department of Health on Stratis Health's 2014 Building Healthier Communities Award.

Stratis Health, Minnesota’s state quality improvement organization, recently announced six recipients of their 2014 Building Healthier Communities award. This Stratis Health grant award supports creative community initiatives that promote a culture of health care quality and patient safety in Minnesota. Two of the recipients touch the Minnesota Department of Health.

MDH’s Diabetes Program and Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Unit are active members of the Minnesota Diabetes and Heart Health Collaborative. The Collaborative received the $9,500 award to continue the World Café-style Community Conversations for Diabetes Prevention and Care Action in the African American, American Indian, Hmong, Latino, and Somali communities. The conversations have been helping the communities in taking next steps in implementing their most important recommendations for reducing their burden of diabetes and health disparities.

The other award was given to the Minnesota Time Critical Care Committee, co-chaired by Albert Tsai, from the Minnesota Department of Health’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Unit and Justin Bell, from the American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate. The $10,000 award will act as seed money to develop an online training learning management system for emergency medical service (EMS) providers to provide education on time critical care conditions. The intended audiences include first responders and EMS providers in and around Minnesota. See Article Here

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Scott Nevers, Maine

It was the hottest day of the summer—July 27, 2013. Scott had just finished up a few days of golf at Sugarloaf and was playing in a double-header softball game in Saco. Scott looped a single. The next batter hit the ball hard and Scott headed for home. After scoring, he said he did not feel well and went behind the dugout. Then, the 27 year old went down. 9-1-1 was called but since Scott had a pulse and was convulsing, his teammates thought he was having a seizure so no one administered CPR. Luckily for Scott, EMTs arrived in 5 minutes, recognized a sudden cardiac arrest and immediately began CPR and used their AED. They worked on him for 45 minutes in the field—shocked him 19 times and finally got enough of a pulse to get him to the local hospital. The local hospital was able to stabilize him and he was transported to Maine Medical Center where he was put into a coma to protect brain function. After a few failed attempts, they were able to bring him out of a coma after a few days and implant an

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD). It took longer for his short term memory to return, but after a few days he could go home. Due to the memory loss and his healing body, Scott, who worked for Hannaford, was out of work for 3 months.

Twelve years earlier, Scott was a typical, athletic high school student. One day, during hockey practice, he had palpitations. He said something to his mom and she took him to his doctor, Dr. Linda Sanborn. The next day he wore a monitor during practice. The palpitations happened again and he was told "no more hockey". After further tests, it was determined that he had ventricular tachycardia. It was recommended that he get an ICD or limit his physical activity. Scott was worried about the ICD going off accidentally (he was told it would feel like a horse kicking him in the chest), so he opted to limit his physical activity. He could still play baseball, but could not do the full work outs. Hockey was not an option. Scott could also continue playing golf—something he continues to this day.

Scott’s ICD has gone off once, and yes it did feel like a horse kicking him in the chest, but it most likely saved his life. Luckily, this time, he listened to a co-worker, friend and fellow survivor and opted for the implant. Through all of his trials, Scott has found a new purpose—sharing his story in order to save lives. Scott has told his story at countless venues around the state for the American Heart Association—and is helping push for legislation that would require all Maine high school students learn CPR. He even went to Las Vegas to speak on behalf of the company who made his AED.

So, if you meet Scott on one of Maine’s many beautiful golf courses, or as he drives around the state for his new beer and wine distributing venture, please say hello and thank him for all he does for the American Heart Association.

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Aphasia Advocates Back Improved Stroke Care Bills

We know that stroke is the No. 4 cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the U.S. A stroke can have various communication effects, one of which is aphasia. Stroke is the most common cause of aphasia, which is a language disorder that affects the ability to communicate. Aphasia does not affect intelligence. Stroke survivors remain mentally alert, even though their speech may be jumbled, fragmented or impossible to understand. People with aphasia are often frustrated and confused because they can’t speak as well or understand things the way they did before their stroke. They may act differently because of changes in their brain. Imagine looking at the headlines of the morning newspaper and not being able to recognize the words. Or think about trying to say "put the car in the garage" and it comes out "put the train in the house" or "widdle tee car ung sender plissen." Thousands of alert, intelligent men and women are suddenly plunged into a world of jumbled communication because of aphasia. Our legislators have the opportunity to help people currently living with aphasia and try to ensure that when someone suffers a stroke they are treated quickly so they have a chance to reverse disabilities like aphasia associated with stroke.

I was honored to be a part of the Aphasia Day at the State House on June 26th. We, at the American Stroke Association, joined with the hundreds of you living with aphasia and caregivers. We joined with them to advocate for two bills that can help improve stroke care and provide resources to survivors living with aphasia. We took the opportunity to thank the State Repreentatives for passing House Bill #4162 which establishes a special commission to investigate and study the programs and resources necessary to meet the unmet needs of persons with aphasia and their families and asked the Senate to act quickly on this legialatino to ensure that we are dedicating time to determine what resources are needed for people who are living with aphasia.

In addition, we asked legislators to help to move critical legislation that establishes a Stroke System of Care in the Commonwealth. With improved systems of care in Massachusetts, we can save the lives of many residents who suffer a stroke. We urge legislators to pass Senate Bill #2075 that will designate the best medical centers to treat stroke and ensure that care is delivered as promptly as possible. Each year, thousands of lives are lost to stroke largely due to a lack of coordination between emergency services, health professionals and treatment facilities. We can address the problem by passing this legislation that would close gaps in the continuum of care from prevention to recovery. Coordinated systems of care can save lives by providing stroke patients with seamless transitions from one stage of care to the next. I believe that this bill that would designate the best medical centers to treat stroke and establish an official state registry must be a priority for all members of the legislature.

I know sometimes you think about aphasia or stroke, what can I really do? "I am only human", but you can do so much, your voice can make a huge difference. Just being here today sharing your story and showing legislators what aphasia is, is making a difference. You are being an advocate today. You Advocacy is creating an environment that motivates people to act and helps increases visibility of your issue. Your advocacy can be powerful tool for producing social change where we live and work and if you don’t – who will? 

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Tedy Tackles the Legislature

On June 18th, Tedy Bruschi came to the State House to talk about important Stroke Legislation. He has been a dedicated advocate for us since suffering his stroke. He spoke passionately to the legislators about how he had a "stroke system of care" in place because he was a three time super bowl champion and a member of the New England Patriots. Shouldn't everyone get the same level of high quality care that Tedy got? He thinks so and I agree! We have been fighting for a number of years to improve the stroke system of care in Massachusetts and we are close. The Senate included language in their budget to create a tiered system of care and we are now fighting to keep it in the final budget. Tedy met with key legislative leaders to ensure that this can happen.

Tedy shared his story and the story of all the people he meets that have not been treated quickly, he talked about why time matters and he spoke about how because he went to the right hospital and was given the right treatment and diagnosis he was able to be a father, a husband and even a football player again. He talked about all the titles he has had over the years, super bowl champion, pro-bowler, but the one he says he is most proud of...Stroke Survivor. I know many other amazing survivors who would agree.

It is time for the legislators to act; it is time for Massachusetts who is a leader in health care with their world-class hospitals to be a leader in providing high quality stroke care. Will you help us?

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Jennifer & Joel Griffin

On June 8, 2012, Gwyneth Griffin, a 7th grader at A. G. Wright Middle School, collapsed in cardiac arrest.  Several critical minutes passed before her father, Joel, reached her. CPR had not been initiated. “There was no one else taking care of my daughter, so I had to,” said Joel. Gwyneth’s mother, Jennifer, stated “It was after the results of the MRI, 3 weeks later, that we decided no one should ever have to go through what we were going through. What became evident was the need for CPR training in schools."

While the couple immersed themselves in caring for Gwyneth at the hospital, friends and family were busy back home in Stafford learning CPR. Joel and Jennifer’s daughter, Gwyneth, passed away Monday, July 30, 2012, not from her cardiac arrest, but because CPR was not initiated within the first few minutes. Their home community mobilized, and the Griffins report that by the end of the summer of 2012 nearly 500 people had become certified in CPR.

Jennifer and Joel involved themselves in working with the American Heart Association and their legislators to establish legislation that would assure every student was trained in CPR before graduation.  Through their efforts and perseverance, and in honor of their daughter, Gwyneth’s Law was passed in Virginia in the 2013 General Assembly session.  The law has three components: teacher training in CPR, AED availability in schools, and CPR training as a graduation requirement.

Here’s a look at how the Griffin's determination led to success:

(Please visit the site to view this video)

Since passage of the Virginia law, the Griffins have continued to work to help other states accomplish the same goal.  They visited Maryland legislators during the 2014 General Assembly session, and were instrumental in getting a similar law passed there.  They hope their story will help inspire others to support CPR training in schools as well. 

The legacy that Gwyneth leaves behind is one that will save countless lives. Help honor her legacy. This quick video will help you become CPR smart (and might get you dancing too):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HGpp6mStfY

 

Gwyneth Griffin

 

Special thanks to You’re the Cure advocate/writer Karen Wiggins, LPN, CHWC, for help crafting this story.

 

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Life-Saving Technology for Nebraska's Rural Areas

Twelve-lead electrocardigram equipment is now available in rural Nebraska thanks to grant funding through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Emergency Medical Services.  The funding was approved by the legislature during last year's session.  

What does this mean for rural Nebraska?  It means that heart attack victims in rural areas will now have a better chance of survival.  Moving people having a heart attack into the cath lab as quickly as possible is the key to survival and to minimizing damage to the heart and other vital organs.  Identifying those patients who need cath intervention is faster and easier thanks to these 12-lead monitors.  

According to Assistant Fire Chief Trent Kleinow of the North Platte Fire Department, "If someone is a candidate for the cath lab, we can bypass the emergency room and go straight there which can save a half an hour to an hour of the patient being re-evaluated and then turned over to the cath lab."  

The North Platte Fire Department has used this equipment for about six years and now the rescue squads in Maxwell, Thedford, Curtis and Maywood will be able to equip their amulances as well.  

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Shannon Chamizo - A Survivor Who is Giving Back

Written by Shannon Chamizo

My name is Shannon Chamizo, I am a You’re The Cure advocate and a survivor. My sons and I became involved with the American Heart Association after I survived both cardiac arrest and a heart attack before I was even 40.  If you would like to read more about my experience click here.

I survived these two events in large part because of the heroic actions of my teenaged sons, Avery and Alston. Since then, my family has used those experiences to make healthy lifestyle improvements and to add formal lifesaving skills to their knowledge.

After having those health issues, American Heart Association Hawaii Division Board Member and American Medical Response (AMR) Training Director Dory Clisham (also a You’re the Cure advocate) took me under her wing and got both my sons and me certified in the use of CPR, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and First Aid using American Heart Association training (AMR is an American Heart Association certified training center). After completing that training in July, 2013, Dory also asked me if I might be interested in further training, and I responded yes.

This year on May 22, I completed American Heart Association Healthcare Provider and Basic Life Support (BLS) Instructor training and am now certified to train other professionals.

In addition, I have assisted at a community training event at Kaimuki High School for the Junior ROTC students by sharing our family story.  It was inspiring to see how our story added to the motivation that the students had to learn lifesaving skills.

My family and I want to continue to participate in community training events to help others learn. My younger son, Avery, is also interested in becoming not only an instructor, but also pursuing a career as a firefighter after graduating from high school next year.

We also want to help the AHA in its efforts to work with the Hawaii Department of Education and Board of Education to add CPR as a mandatory part of high school health curriculum. Since health is a required course, adding simple and quick ‘hands-only’ CPR training to those classes would insure that every new Hawaii high school graduate would possess the skills to save the life of a friend or loved one who experiences health problems like I had.

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CPR Matters

Sometimes you just need a lifesaver. Quickly. The American Heart Association is creating a generation of lifesavers by making sure students learn CPR before they graduate from high school.  The goal is to teach lifesaving CPR skills to as many teens and young adults as possible in every state to help keep our communities safer.  Having a new generation of lifesavers will benefit everyone.  We have heard many stories about emergency situations where bystanders do not know what to do, but a CPR-trained person is the one to remain calm and save a person’s life.

The need is dire. Nearly 424,000 people have cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year, and only 10.4% survive, often because they don’t receive timely CPR. Given right away, CPR doubles or triples survival rates. Teaching students CPR could save thousands of lives by filling our communities with those trained to give sudden cardiac arrest victims the immediate help they need to survive until EMTs arrive. Almost 90 percent of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital die, most likely because they don’t get CPR treatment within the first few precious minutes.

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen any place, at any time. If you suffer sudden cardiac arrest, your best chance at survival is receiving bystander CPR until EMTs arrive.  Teaching students CPR before they graduate puts thousands of qualified lifesavers on our streets every year.

In less than 30-minutes, students can learn the skills they need to help save someone’s life with CPR. With a short time investment, today’s students will become tomorrow’s lifesavers. Everyone benefits from having more lifesavers in our community.

Here in The American Heart Association’s Mid-Atlantic Affiliate, You’re the Cure advocates have helped us make great progress on this goal, by telling their legislators all students should be trained in CPR before they graduate:

DC:  We’re working on it… DC City Council is looking at establishing emergency medical response plans and training in DC schools.  AHA, through You’re the Cure, is working with the committee to include student training requirements for graduation. CPR training in DC schools would prepare roughly 3500 students annually to save a life. If you live in DC, watch your inbox for action opportunities to support this effort as it unfolds.

MD:  We did that!  Breanna’s Bill passed just this year and will soon become a reality for MD students. If you live in MD, take a moment to Thank Your Legislators for this big win.  Because of CPR training in MD schools, there will be over 58,000 new lifesavers in MD communities every year.

NC:  We did that!  We passed HB 837 in 2012 and its implementation is well under way.  Because of CPR training in NC schools, there will be close to 87,000 new lifesavers in NC communities every year.

SC:  The SC General Assembly adjourned without passing CPR in Schools, but we will introduce next year.  When we get this bill passed there will be over 39,000 new lifesavers in SC communities every year.

VA:  We did that!  Gwyneth’s Law passed just last year and is in implementation stages now. Because of CPR training in VA schools, there will be over 79,500 new lifesavers in VA communities every year.


Thanks to You’re the Cure advocate Karen Wiggins, LPN, CHWC, for developing this blog post!

 

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