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New Bill Addresses “Silent Killer” In Teens

Automated External Defibrillators
Automated External Defibrillators (photo courtesy Flickr user Fredrick MD Publicity)

Targeting what he calls a “silent killer”, shore Congressman Frank Pallone is introducing a bill to raise awareness about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

Frank Pallone
Congressman Frank Pallone (Facebook)

The Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Risk Assessment, and Training in the School’s (HEARTs) Act was something that became very important to Congressman Pallone after a football player at a high school in Edison Township (one of the towns that Pallone Represents) passed away from SCA.

The bill would act to raise awareness about SCA in schools and childcare centers, and put a lot of importance towards staff on recognizing the signs to look out for.

“Now we’re just trying to set up a federal education program so schools are made aware of it and materials are given to the teachers so they are aware of the problem.”

It would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work with the Centers for Disease Control as well as patient advocacy groups and health professionals to create and distribute the literature SCA.

Pallone notes that the current bill is primarily educational in nature and schools wouldn’t be required to really purchase anything but rather work within their current means to address the issue.

“Basically what the federal government would do is try to prepare a lot of information about what to look for. Then that gets disseminated to the schools so that they have more awareness.”

Pallone says in terms of having emergency equipment like CPR training and defibrillator devices, “some schools are more advanced than others.” However he notes no schools will be required to go out and buy anything.

In the US there are 600,000 people with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and there are nearly one million with other conditions that can cause SCA in young people.

In 2010, two student athletes in New Jersey died from SCA eight months apart.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one student athlete falls victim to SCA every three to four days. These numbers are significant, but it’s important to note that all young people are affected by SCA and not just student athletes.”

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