Gundersen donates AED's to 12 area schools - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Gundersen donates AED's to 12 area schools

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La Crosse, Wisconsin (WXOW)  Your chances of surviving a heart attack are 1 in 20.  According to the American Heart Association your odds improve 10-fold if an Automated External Defibrillator or AED is used within the first few minutes.  That's one reason Gundersen Health System is donating the devices to area schools.

There are numerous accounts of people being saved by an AED and what better place to have the device then at  schools where every year thousands of people show  up to watch sporting events.

Joe La Mer is one of 27 athletic trainers from Gundersen Health System who work on the sidelines at those events.  The hospital has been providing this service for over 25 years and as a thank you to the schools they  work with they have donated a portable AED. They say it's their way of paying it forward. "Saving lives is key and we know that if someone does have a heart condition that may need to be shocked this machine is right there and it minimizes the time this person is in trouble."

67-year-old Darrell Pofahl was playing basketball with friends at Viterbo when he collapsed on a bench. Darrell's teammates grabbed a nearby AED and worked on him until paramedics arrived. Darrell survived and is now back to playing basketball.

The La Crosse Fire Department recently acquired 44 AED's and the Valley View Mall in La Crosse has a few.    

Gundersen says all we need to do now is raise awareness about the device and many more lives will be saved.

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