Heart Attacks in Public Places: Litigation Involving the Use or Non-Use of AEDs

Introduction to AED Laws

AEDs are now commonly seen on the walls of airports, gyms, sporting venues, restaurants, places of worship, and all types of businesses.

AEDs cost as little as $1,000.00. These devices are very easy to use; recent medical studies show that children as young as ten years old can use them. Modern AEDs even have voice prompts that tell the user what to do. New models even administer the “shock” without the human intervention of having to push a button. Thus, the possibility of user error has almost been negated.

With the increasing popularity of these devices, the legal standard of care has developed significantly. Both common law and statutory regulation across the country are beginning to mandate that AEDs are present in many public places.

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Professional Dancer Collapses On-Stage From Heart Attack – No AED Available

AED not on site in Ritz Carlton heart attack case

The scenario is all too common: a person collapses and suffers a heart attack in public, and those around him or her panic, call 911, attempt to perform CPR, and some inevitably get flustered by the sheer frustration or fright of witnessing the horrible scene as it unfolds right before their eyes.

What if an AED was available? What if an AED could have been used to revive the victim, within moments rather than many minutes after the initial attack?

That could be what went through the minds of the family of Mr. Steven Hevenor, a 43-year old professional ballroom dancer that collapsed onstage at the Ritz-Carlton in Manalapan, Florida in 2012.

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