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Life-Saving Device

By: Justin Williams
By: Justin Williams

For us, it's an automatic external defibrillator, but for Claire Godfrey, it's much more.

"It's just something to help save your life."

Just a couple months ago, as she was preparing for school, Claire's father heard the first–year LaFollette student as she went into cardiac arrest in the family's bathroom.

Her mother, Beth, recalls the horror of watching Claire's father attempt to reach her. "He had to get through the door to get to her."

Eight minutes later, paramedics began CPR.

Beth explains, "They say that if you are not defibrillated within ten minutes, your chance of surviving are zero."

Today, Claire and her parents attended the grand installation of two new defibrillators at Madison's LaFollette High School, the fourth school in the Madison Metropolitan School District to receive a defibrillator. 78 defibrillators are expected to be in all Madison schools within about a month.

Claire says, "I know it didn't happen here and everything, but like, just going through what I went through, it makes me feel safer."

"I'm thinking this is a really comfortable situation. I'm really glad we have 'em, I hope we never have to use 'em," says Kristi Schultz, a LaFollette school nurse.

Schultz says nurses, nursing assistants, administrators, custodians, coaches, and any interested teachers have been or will be trained to use the A–E–Ds, adding display of the devices serves a purpose in and of itself.

"If we don't use them, it raises the awareness of the community about cardiac problems and the importance of learning C–P–R, and the importance of paying attention to symptoms."

Claire is currently receiving instruction at home, but is expected to fully recover.

Meanwhile, the effort to place AED's in every Madison school marks the end of a 132,000 dollar fund–raising push, involving area donors and sponsors, including NBC 15.


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