Since 1997, Florida law has required that automated external defibrillators
(AEDs) be installed in certain public locations such as senior centers,
medical offices, and schools in order to save the lives of those suffering
from sudden cardiac arrest. However, even when AEDs are installed, a lack
of proper maintenance may prevent them from being used to save lives.
One study found that less than 10% of AED owners regularly test and maintain
their AED and replace the batteries in the time period indicated by the
manufacturer’s instructions. .
Although AEDs may go unused for years before being needed to save a life,
they must be checked each day. This ensures that when the AED is needed,
it is operable.
Electrodes - The electrodes should be sealed in their package. If the package is
not sealed, the electrode adhesive can dry out and this will prevent the
device from operating correctly. The AED monitor senses the heart rhythm
through the electrode pads, and if the monitor can't sense a heartbeat,
it will continue to instruct the operator to check the electrode adhesion.
When inspecting the package, one should also check the expiration date
of the electrodes. Electrodes should be replaced before the manufacturer's
Electrode Cable - The electrode cable is the cable that attaches to the monitor on one
end and the electrode pads at the other end. The cable should be loosely
coiled and placed in the AED bag or case. If the cable is wound too tightly,
the internal lead wires can break. If the cable is missing or damaged,
it must be replaced immediately.
Primary Battery - The primary battery is the battery that stays in the AED when it isn't
being used. You can test the battery using the AED’s self-check
diagnostic function: just push the "test" button. If there is
no “test” button, the AED must be powered up by using the
"on" button. If the device readily turns on and the automated
voice prompts the tester to attach the electrodes, the battery is functioning properly.
Secondary Battery – There should also be a secondary battery in the AED kit. When
an AED is used, it quickly depletes its battery, so a back-up must be
available in case multiple shocks are needed or if the primary battery
fails. The secondary battery is tested in the same way as the primary
battery. If it is depleted or missing, the secondary battery must be replaced.
DC Charging Cable – When not in use, an AED should be plugged into a direct current
power source. This keeps the device ready to e used and prevents the primary
battery from depleting over time.
Paper / Memory Card – If the AED uses tracing paper, check that the paper is loaded
properly by pressing the “record” button. Not all AEDs use
paper; some use a digital memory card. Check that the memory card is installed
in the appropriate slot on the side of the machine.
Miscellaneous items - An AED kit should also contain razors, alcohol prep pads and paper towels.
The razors are used to remove any body hair that prevents the electrode
from sticking. The alcohol pads and paper towels remove body oils, moisture
and lotions that prevent electrode adhesion.
Training – It is important that someone at the facility be trained in the
use of the AED. AEDs are simple to use, but they can cause injury or death
if used inappropriately. Make sure that at least one employee per shift
has been trained in AED use.
When properly installed and maintained, AEDs truly save lives. For each
minute that passes without defibrillation after cardiac arrest, a person’s
chance of survival decreases by about 10%. When an AED that has not been
properly maintained fails, there is little chance of the person surviving.
Have you lost a loved one because of a malfunctioning AED? You may have
aFlorida AED lawsuit.
West Palm Beach heart attack injury lawyer Craig Goldenfarb helps families who have lost a loved one because of an
AED that did not work as intended. To discuss your claim,
contact The Law Offices of Craig Goldenfarb, P.A. at 1-(561) 600-5605.