ARTICLE

Mercy Medical Center donates AEDs to local not-for-profits with financial need

Ten schools, churches and community organizations in the Cedar Rapids area are the latest to receive lifesaving portable devices under a Mercy Medical Center program.

Since 2014, Mercy Medical has given free automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to not-for-profits that complete an application process and demonstrate financial need for the devices. They can cost up to $2,000.

The AEDs are used to check heart rhythm and can deliver an electric shock to the heart if a person has gone into cardiac arrest. That helps to restore a normal rhythm.

In December, Mercy Medical donated 10 AEDs, or one apiece, to the following not-for-profits:

La Salle Middle School (Cedar Rapids)

St. Mark’s United Methodist Church (Cedar Rapids)

Hawkeye Area Council, Boy Scouts of America (Central City)

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church (Cedar Rapids)

His Hands Free Clinic (Cedar Rapids)

United Parish Church (Coggon)

St. John’s Lutheran Church (Ely)

Alburnett Junior-Senior High School

St. Isidore Church (Springville)

Isaac Newton Christian Academy (Cedar Rapids)

Alburnett Junior-Senior High School already had an onsite AED, but it was on the opposite side of the building from the school’s gym, said Steph Cooper, a board member with the Alburnett Community School District Foundation. She said that created accessibility concerns, given the number of community activities at the school, such as intramural sports and club meetings.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Cooper said other funding priorities would have prevented Alburnett Junior-Senior High School from acquiring a second AED had it not been for Mercy Medical’s program.

The funding component also would have kept St. Isidore’s Church in Springville from buying an AED, despite a need, said Cheryl Machovec, the church’s secretary and bookkeeper.

“We’ve had different parishioners over the course of many years have episodes that occur during Mass, and that’s a very scary occurrence,” she said.

Once, a parishioner sitting behind Machovec experienced a heart attack during a service, she said. Another fainted in a pew, though Machovec said the cause later was determined to be dehydration, not a cardiac issue.

“Ever since these types of events have occurred in our church, we’ve often paused and thought, ‘Gosh, I wonder if we should be getting something we could have here on hand in case we need to assist with a medical emergency?’ ” she said.

St. Isidore’s AED now sits in the church’s gathering space, at the front of the building.

“We’re very thankful for Mercy making this opportunity available,” Machovec said.

She later said, “The possibility that it could save a life is paramount.”

Sudden cardiac arrest contributes to more than 300,000 deaths annually and accounts for about 50 percent of all cardiovascular deaths, according to the American Heart Association.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Average response times for first responders can range from eight to 12 minutes after 911 is called. The odds of survival for a person experiencing cardiac arrest decreases about 10 percent for each minute defibrillation is delayed, according to the association.

Mercy Medical has distributed 73 AEDs since 2014. The center makes the devices available for donation through its partnership with Cedar Rapids-based ThinkSafe.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.