Whatcan only be described as a shocking display at the schoolboard

Published on Thu, May 27, 2004 by ack Kintner

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What can only be described as a shocking display at the school board

By Jack Kintner

Last month the Federal Aviation Agency began requiring all U.S. airlines to carry defibrillators. Local physician Marta Kazymyra decided that if airliners have them then it’s time Blaine schools did as well, and through her connections in the medical community obtained a unit for a discounted price which she presented to the board at its regular Monday night meeting this week.

Four board members present along with superintendent Mary Lynne Derrington watched Dr. Kazymyra demonstrate the device, about the size of two large textbooks stacked on top of each other.

It comes with a folding card of directions that are as simple as an airline safety briefing card and a sterile bag containing onetime use electrodes, scissors to cut away clothing, a razor to shave away chest hair, a towel to dry the patient’s skin for a good contact and gloves for the person who’s operating it.

When turned on it talks, loudly and in a very direct, football coach kind of way, ordering the user to “attach electrodes to patient’s bare chest!” Once that’s been done it tells you in a voice that could interrupt a hockey game that it’s “analyzing heart rhythm, do not touch the patient!” If you or anyone else should move the patient prematurely the little yellow box scolds “analyzing interrupted, motion detected!” and you try again.

Though the voice alone could probably wake the dead, the machine will analyze the heart to see if a shock is actually needed. If the patient is simply unconscious it will tell you “No shock advised, begin CPR.”
If it decides that a shock is needed, it yells “shock advised, stand clear!” followed by “shock now! Press the red button now!” like Mr. Spock on steroids. All that’s missing is a miner plugging his ears as someone yells “fire in the hole!”

Dr. Kazymyra pointed out that these devices are becoming so cheap and they’re so effective that it’s foolish for Blaine not to have one handy for crowds. She suggested the gym as one place where it might be useful. For the people whose lives it will save, it can’t be put in place too soon, especially since the loud little voice can get just about anyone to use it properly.

“But not this one,” she said, pointing at the chrome yellow Welch Allyn model AED10 defibrillator on the school board’s conference table. “It’s just been recalled.” A defective part in a certain number of the machines inhibits their ability to give a full shock so a replacement is on the way.
The board also approved a new athletic code of behavior called Blaine high school extracurricular rules. It provides the same rules for all students involved in any activity beyond basic classroom assignments. Principal Dan Newell said that the rules now eliminate a coach’s discretion in using another more stringent set of rules on his or her own volition. “It’s the same playing field for everyone,” he said.

The new rules describe partial season suspensions for athletes in terms of a percentage of the season’s games rather than a specific time, such as three weeks, and further state that if violations occur while attending school or school functions then that person is “immediately removed from participation in any extracurricular programs for one calendar year.”

The board hired Rob Adams to be the new varsity girls’ basketball coach, replacing Patrick Green. Adams continues as varsity fast pitch coach. The next school board meeting will be June 28 at 7 p.m.