Youth Heart Watch gives charter schools a lesson from the heart

Shara Dae Howard
June 04, 2018 - 11:11 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia schools are becoming more heart safe as the Youth Heart Watch program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has been working to get automated external defibrillators (AEDs) into schools.

"About 350,000 citizens in the U.S. have a cardiac arrest every year. That's four per day in Philadelphia," said Victoria Vetter, pediatric cardiologist and medical director of the program.

Vetter said it's a matter of saving lives.

"Twenty percent of the population is in a school in any given day," she noted. "If a cardiac arrest occurs there and an AED is present and personnel who know how to use it give CPR, then the survival [rate> can go to 75 to 85 percent."

Malana Murphy, an official at a local charter school, believes it's important to have heart healthy information in schools.

It's not easy, but she's confident she and others can do it.

"I'm, like, sweating doing compressions, but it was good," she added.

At the event, Youth Heart Watch gave the remaining 20 charter schools AEDs, so now all charter and public schools in the city are equipped to save lives. 

"Just this year — after 15 years — we now have AEDs in all the high schools, public middle schools and elementary schools in the city," continued Vetter. "The reason schools are so essential is because we know we will see an arrest there and we can respond immediately, which will give the best chance for survival."