AED used to save man's life at local health club

Posted at: 02/20/2013 5:25 PM
Updated at: 02/20/2013 6:09 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

They aren't required to use them, but one local health club did and ended up saving a man's life.

Midtown Athletic Club used an automatic external defibrillator, also known as an AED. State law requires New York health clubs to have them, but a new ruling says employees aren't required to use them. But one man is glad they did. He almost died after going into cardiac arrest on a treadmill Tuesday. That AED was used to jump start his heart.

The club manager at the Midtown Athletic Club says they were the first in our area to get AEDs. They have three of the devices on their gym floor right now. Even though the new ruling says they don't have to use them, every employee at the club must be properly trained and this is why.
Bob McKernan, Midtown Athletic Club manager, said, “It could happen to anybody. Anybody can have a heart incident and stop breathing. I'm still emotional about it just thinking about the consequence.”

Club manager Bob McKernan keeps a good eye on members at the Midtown Athletic Club. So when New York State ruled health club employees were not required to use AED's, he knew right away it would not change anything at this gym.

McKernan said, “It would never come into our mind to have that piece of equipment and not put it to use. Yesterday was a perfect example.”

It's a good thing they stuck to their original plan. On Tuesday, a man fell off of his treadmill and went into cardiac arrest. Employees and club members immediately sprung into action. McKernan says this little device and having people there who were trained to use it, helped save the man's life.

McKernan said, “I think it's a great example and it's motivation for us to want to continue to help people.”

Dr. Joan Thomas agrees..

Dr. Joan Thomas said, “It makes all the difference in the world and in this case it did make the difference.”

She was one of the people who used an AED to help save the man She say CPR just doesn't always work.

Dr. Thomas said, “Definitely I think the defibrillator was, I think the difference in the outcome here, that we were able to get him, get the heart started again, get him breathing again. I thought if we didn't do CPR and shock him that we were going to, that he was not going to make it.”

Midtown Athlete Club Manager Bob McKernan says the man was an elderly man but he was in very good shape. He's been a member for a very long time and he frequents the gym several times a week. So this was very surprising to gym employees. The man is still in the hospital, but he is improving. Dr. Thomas says it usually takes a few days to recover from something like this.