I practice many specialties within the field of law called "Personal
Injury". I am passionate about helping those who have been injured
due to someone else's negligent action or inaction. However, I am
particularly interested in pursuing cases involving people who lost their
lives from a cardiac arrest in a location where a "defibrillator"
should have been used.
Defibrillators (Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs) are those little machines that you see on the walls of airports, gyms,
and other public venues. When used within five minutes of the onset of
a cardiac arrest, they are more than 90% effective at saving a person's
life. For every minute that passes, the chance of surviving decreases
by 10%. By the time Fire Rescue or EMS gets to the scene, it is usually
too late for an AED to be used.
Why do I specialize in the area of law I call
heart attacks in public places? I'll tell you.
When I was 17 years old, my parents were out on a Saturday night. I was
out separately, on a date with my girlfriend. There were no cell phones
at that time. I came home at about midnight. My mother was sitting at
the kitchen table, crying in the dark, with her head in her hands. She
told me that my father had a massive heart attack that evening at the
theater (they liked the theater). She said that he was in surgery, undergoing
a triple bypass. My mom said she wanted to be home when I returned from
my date, so we could go back to the hospital together to see if my father
would live through the night.
I remember the helplessness of not knowing if my father would live or die.
At the time, I thought of the TV shows I had watched ("
EMERGENCY!") where they had that machine that "shocked" people back
to life. I remember wondering if the theater had any such machine that
could have helped my dad.
My father, luckily, ended up surviving the heart attack. He is still alive
today. He was one of the lucky ones. Most people suffering from cardiac
arrest are not so lucky.
Right now, the Supreme Court of Florida is hearing arguments and reading
briefs involving a case in central Florida where a young high school soccer
player died of a cardiac arrest while playing soccer. The school had an
AED in a golf cart at the field, but no one bothered to go get it. The
young boy died. Under current law, there is no duty, once a school or
business buys an AED, to actually go get it and use it. I think that this
is bad law. I am hopeful the Florida Supreme Court writes an opinion that
provides a duty to those who have AEDs to actually try to use them.
I've written an in-depth legal article on the
Abel Limones case, which can be found here.
If you are a member or a club or organization that must soon make a decision
as to whether to spend about one thousand dollars to buy this life saving
device, please choose to save a life; the life you save might be your
own. I have an AED in my office, and we re-train our staff at least once
per year on how to use it. I hope that AEDs become as widespread as fire
extinguishers, which are required in many different venues.
I hope my father's story will help encourage someone reading this article
to ask their club or organization to buy an AED. Please join me in my
efforts to help save lives by promoting the purchase and use of these
As usual, thanks for listening. Have a great summer.