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Ramona: Aeds Help Treat Heart Attacks

In Ramona, there are many different types of business entities. All companies need to take precautions to insure the safety of their customers. Below is a new strategy and technique regarding a medical device. Our law firm of Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation, LLP do not endorse or support this medical device and do not give medical advice. Our firm does counsel clients as estate planning and family law. Please feel free to e mail or call us for legal advice in this area.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is used to treat people suffering sudden cardiac arrest whose hearts have an irregular heartbeat. Since September of 2004, when the Federal Food and Drug Administration approved over-the-counter sales of AEDs, it has been possible for individuals and businesses to have AEDs on hand, instead of waiting for them to be brought by medical personnel.

The greater availability of AEDs has been a mixed blessing from a legal standpoint. Businesses most likely to put an AED to use (and what business cannot foresee that a customer might have a heart attack on its premises?) are now in the position of having to decide whether they should have an AED at their facilities. If they do not, there is a risk that a customer who needed an AED could cite the failure as negligence in a lawsuit. That is the “damned if you don’t” part, but the rest of the saying may apply as well.

If a business–for example, a fitness center–decides that it would be prudent to have its own AED, it may be commended for preparing for an emergency, but it also may have created a legal headache. Under the right set of facts, the business could be liable for a range of acts or omissions, such as not training its personnel to properly use the AED, or even something as simple as not keeping fresh batteries in the AED. There are already lawsuits in which such allegations have been made, and court cases from the period before over-the-counter sales began suggest that businesses can be held liable if the AED is not kept in good working order or if the use (or non-use) of the AED is especially negligent.

Businesses with AEDs on premises should think in terms of having a comprehensive AED program, not just the piece of equipment. With a view toward quick and effective use of the AED, the program should include:

* good means of communication about emergencies requiring an AED;

* training of workers in the use of the AED;

* procedures for regular checking and maintenance of the AED, and;

* storage of the AED in an accessible location, identified by clear signs.

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