Ties that Bind: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Kathleen L. Grady, PhD, and Automatic External Defibrillators
On the day before Valentine's Day - a holiday symbolized by the heart - Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, the American Heart Association (AHA) and others held a press conference to call attention to the vital role played by automatic external defibrillators (AED) in saving lives.
AEDs are small, portable devices that automatically diagnose life threatening heart rhythms and then treat the irregular heart rhythm by defibrillating the heart. Defibrillation is the application of an electric shock to the heart that is designed to "shock" the heart out of the life threatening heart rhythm back into a normal heart rhythm. According to the AHA, "AEDs are very accurate and easy to use. With a few hours of training anyone can learn to operate an AED safely."
Kathleen L. Grady, PhD, APN is the chair of the AHA Illinois Advocacy Committee that has been working on AED legislation in the state of Illinois. Below are her words as read during the press conference.
"Today, Governor Pat Quinn recognized the local heroes who used automated external defibrillators to save the lives of people in cardiac arrest. As we celebrate the lives saved, we thank Governor Quinn for his years of leadership and dedication in ensuring that AEDs are available throughout Illinois. Years ago, before most people had even heard of an AED, then-Lt. Gov. Quinn learned of the life-saving potential of this technology and decided that it should be made available as widely as possible throughout our state. And today, as we salute those who have used AEDs to save lives, we also salute the man whose work is in no small measure responsible for these miracles.
While some may find Governor Quinn to be a relatively new face on the scene, to those of us at the American Heart Association, he is a long-time, dedicated and important ally in our fight against heart disease and stroke. Thank you, Governor, for your own heroic efforts. We look forward to working with you to build on the success of these life-saving initiatives."
In addition to her many and varied roles with the AHA, Dr. Grady is an advanced practice nurse (APN), a certified clinical nurse specialist (C-CNS), the administrative director for the Center for Heart Failure at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and an associate professor of Surgery at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.