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FOR RELEASE: July 8, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

Media Advisory

News Conference Scheduled for Thursday

What: News Conference to announce a program to place Automatic External Defibrillators throughout rural Oklahoma to respond to sudden cardiac arrest.

When & Where: Thursday, July 10, 10 a.m.
Oklahoma State Department of Health, Room 307


Dr. Les Beitsch
Commissioner of Health

Shawn Rogers
Director, Emergency Medical Services Division
Oklahoma State Department of Health

Mashell Sourjohn
Health Initiatives Specialist
American Heart Association

Trish Weedn
Executive Director
Oklahoma Association of Regional Councils

Background: Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in North America. Oklahoma ranks second in the nation for cardiovascular disease deaths. For every minute someone is in cardiac arrest, that person loses 10 percent likelihood that they will survive. The key to survival is prompt defibrillation within a five-minute response time or less. As many as one-half to one-third of sudden cardiac arrest victims can be resuscitated in this window of time. The challenge is to assure that communities, especially rural communities with limited resources, have access to automatic external defibrillators. These defibrillators can be placed in 24-hour, radio-dispatched mobile units such as police, sheriff, and Highway Patrol units to improve emergency response. A new grant from the federal Health Resources Services Administration will fund the placement of 91 automatic external defibrillators throughout rural areas of Oklahoma.


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