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Published on October 07, 2014

Mercy makes AED donation to downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library

New program offers life-saving devices to local non-profits

Mercy Medical Center is donating an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to the downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Avenue SE.  Presentation of the AED will take place at the library on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 11 a.m. The device will then be placed in a readily-accessible location on the library’s second floor, to be used in case of an emergency.

AEDs are portable devices that check heart rhythm and treat Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). If needed, an AED can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm.

This AED donation is part of a new program at Mercy designed to equip local non-profits that demonstrate financial need with the life-saving devices. The non-profits must also exhibit a need for AED coverage for their facility and participate in an application process. 

Mercy is partnering with Cedar Rapids company ThinkSafe to make the AEDs available for donation. Mercy will provide the AEDs, related supplies and AED education to qualifying non-profit organizations while ThinkSafe will provide follow-up maintenance and education.

“AED devices are a critical component in increasing survival rates among Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) victims,” said cardiologist Ryan Hollenbeck, MD, Mercy Cardiology Clinic. “SCA is a leading killer in the United States, claiming more than 300,000 lives annually. Mercy is pleased to be able to present this life-saving device to the Cedar Rapids Public Library for the well-being of its staff and all patrons.”

According to the American Heart Association, SCA kills more people every year than strokes, AIDS and breast cancer. Hollenbeck says the key to fighting SCA is defibrillation (use of an AED) within a very short period of time from the onset of SCA.

“The Library is a community hub, seeing more than 2,000 visitors a day and the more we can do to help ensure the safety of our visitors, the better," said Dara Schmidt, library director. “We are thankful for the support of great community partners such as Mercy to help us in this endeavor."

At least 12 library staff members will have received training to become CPR/AED certified through the American Heart Association by the end of the year.

As part of its new program, Mercy will present an AED to Taylor Elementary School in Cedar Rapids later this month.

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