Buy a defib -- save a life

Probably the best news out of southern Chester Countyís Medic 94 unit is that the nearby waiting room at the Jennersville Regional Hospital appears to be having a respite from the flu epidemic.

Medic 94 CEO Bob Hotchkiss said the room was packed to the gills last week, as were hospitals all over Chester County.

On Monday, just a few people were waiting for treatment, and they did not appear to be coughing, sneezing or blowing here noses.

Thatís the good news.

What is interesting is that whether there is a flu season or not, Medic 94, which is actually an emergency room on wheels that accompanies ambulances to serious calls, most frequently responds to respiratory distress.

Many people in the county, for a variety of reasons, are having trouble breathing.

It could be because southern Chester County has had an influx of older residents moving into retirement communities, and many of those people are more susceptible to lung problems than a younger population.

But it could also be because people arenít taking their colds seriously and choose not to get treatment in order to save money.

They let the symptoms go, and suddenly they are very sick, having trouble getting their breath, and they have to call and ambulance and its partner, Medic 94.

Fortunately, Hotchkiss and his team keep up with modern technology, and they have added devices which treat breathing difficulties: CPAPs that force oxygen into a patientís lungs without having to insert a tube into the lungs.

Medic 94 has other life-saving devices as well.

Mr. Hotchkiss said that the second most frequent call for Medic 94 involves cardiac arrest.

There again, the vehicle has defib devices, chest compression machines and a supply of hypothermia saline which, when injected into the patient, slows down his system and increases the chances of survival.

The back bay of the Medic 94 vehicle is something to behold. It is packed with a huge assortment of devices to save lives, and it is staffed by medics who know how to administer them.

It is good to know that even as Medic 94 just completed its second busiest year, it appears to be generating enough funds to continue its good work.

We were happy to hear that the local townships that contribute to the unit are continuing their support. We are also happy to hear that Mr. Hotchkiss and his staff continue to upgrade and hone their service to become ever more effective.

When we asked to a photograph to so the readers what the Medic 94 vehicle looks like, EMT Brian Crossan gladly posed and mentioned, off hand, that he had revived a cardiac arrest just that day.

But hereís an important point that Mr. Hotchkiss mentioned:

Medic 94 takes about seven minutes to get to a call. In that seven minutes, itís important for bystanders at a heart incident to take action by applying CPR and, if one is available, strapping on an AED.

So we, with the Medic 94 staff, would like to suggest that anyone in a position to donate money, grant or trust would have their cash well spent if they designated that an AED be purchased.

Police cars already have them. So do lots of stores and gyms.

But the more the merrier. And the more there are, the more lives that are saved.

They cost about $1,000 and are easy to use.

What a nice gift to a church, school, restaurant or beauty salon!