New law states health clubs not required to use AEDs

Posted at: 02/08/2013 4:52 PM
Updated at: 02/08/2013 5:57 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

Would it surprise you to know that if you had a heart attack at your health club, no one has to use the automated external defibrillator that could save your life? That's what the law says. Health clubs throughout the state have to have AEDs and have to train their staff to use them, but they don't have to actually use them.  This new ruling is specifically for health clubs.

The American Heart Association says the device can and has saved lives. That's exactly why a representative told us over the phone they dedicate a lot of time to making sure people know how to use AEDs.

Jennifer Pratt, American Heart Association, said, “We encourage as many people as possible to be trained in the skills of CPR and AED use and be comfortable stepping in and saving a life in an emergency.”

But  now a new ruling says health clubs aren't required to use a defibrillator. The association says they will still continue to push the use of the device because the statistics are alarming..

More than 460,000 fatal heart attacks occur each year in the U,S, 95‰ of people who suffer a heart attack in the workplace do not survive, but using a defibrillator within three minutes of a heart attack saves seven out of 10 lives.

Pratt said, “What we don't want to see happen is barriers put in place that would hinder the actual placement of using AEDs in public locations to begin with.”

John Morrell- Rochester Athletic club regional fitness director, said, “The last time we had to use it in our clubs in Rochester was a bout 11 years ago. We've had to use them 5 times in our Buffalo clubs.

News10NBC's Joangel Concepcion said, “You still think it's important to have them?”

Morrell said, “Absolutely.”

John Morrell from the Rochester Athletic Club says the new ruling will not stop his team from training and using an AED if necessary.

Morrell said, “When they elevate their heart rate there's always a risk that something could happen and it's our responsibility that if something does happen we are able to take care of them until the paramedics come. It's a little bit odd that we have to have them but don't have  to use them but that's not going to change how we approach things. It's still important that we have them and that we use them in an emergency situation.”

News10NBC got in contact with the New York State Court of Appeals. We wanted to know why the decision was made. They say it stems from a court case. It involved the death of man who collapsed at a Bailey's Total Fitness in greater New York. Family members felt the trainer at the facility could have used a defibrillator to save the man's life. That case is the reason why the court ruled health clubs do not have a legal obligation through out the state.

We also contacted seven major health clubs in our area. The majority said they will also continue using the defibrillator even if they are not required to.