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Mother Sues School District for AED Negligence

Posted by Wayne Roberts on 11/4/2010 to AED News
Rhonda Harrill, the mother a 13-year-old boy that died from sudden cardiac arrest during a basketball game at Eagleton Middle School, has filed a $1 million lawsuit against Blount County Schools and Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks and Recreation Commission for negligence. Harrill contends that if the school's AED had been accessible at the time of the incident, her son Tanner Lee Jameson would be alive today.

"The lawsuit isn't about the money," Harrill said. "I'd give it all back if I could get back my son. When people don't follow the rules, they have to be punished...It's not personal. It's about someone being liable for the law."

Jameson was participating in a Parks and Recreation sports program on June 26th, 2009, when he fell ill and was later found unresponsive on the ground. One or more adults attempted CPR on Jameson without success, and Jameson later died due to cardiac arrhythmia.

Eagleton Middle School had an automated external defibrillator in the school's office. Harrill contends that if the AED had been accessible as it should be and was used for defibrillation on Jameson within a timely manner, the AED would have prevented the death of her son. The suit alleges the defendants were in violation of two state statutes concerning AEDs. The law prohibits AEDs from being locked, which the suit claims the AED that could have saved Jameson was.

Harrill also tackled the issue by attempting to increase AED presence and awareness. In addition to convincing the local school district to purchase eleven AEDs for schools (and with more in the works), Harrill helped in the creation of the 'Tanner Lee Jameson Act'. The bill requires schools to place AEDs in the gymnasium or in a readily-accessible location.

"My big thing is saving students, and the first time an AED saves a kid they'll be thankful for it," said Harrill.

As we see multiple times a day and everyday, legislation has not been aggressive enough in addressing a major cause of the loss of life in people both young and old. Next time you're at your local school or community center, please do you and your community a favor and see if an AED is readily available. When sudden cardiac arrest strikes, minutes are literally everything and timing is what determines life or death.

Should you have any questions on AEDs, please feel free to call us for a free consultation. Saving lives through improved AED access is our passion here at AEDs Today, and it's what we're here to do.

To read more about Rhonda Harrill's story, click here.
 
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