Sudden Death at Paramus High School Eric Micheo
M E D I A A D V I S O R Y
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Wendy Hirschhorn
HCMA MOURNS THE SUDDEN DEATH OF ERIC MICHEO AND URGES SCHOOLS TO DRILL STUDENTS AND TEACHERS FOR CARDIAC EMERGENCIES
HIBERNIA, N.J., (January 6, 2012) – The Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association (HCMA), a national resource and support center, mourns the death of Eric Micheo, 17, a junior at Paramus High School. While the exact cause is undetermined, Eric collapsed at school and suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
Calling awareness to SCA is one of the cornerstones of the HCMA, a tragic consequence for patients who have undiagnosed Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, the most common genetic heart disease. HCM, which results in a thickening of the heart muscle, is the leading cause of sudden death in children and young adults.
“In the US there are 600,000 people with HCM and there are nearly one million with other genetic conditions that can cause SCA in young people,” said Lisa Salberg, founder and CEO of the HCMA. “With better emergency response plans in place, thousands of kids like Eric Micheo could be saved each year.”
We Have Fire Drills in Schools, Why Not Heart Drills?
While schools around the country routinely drill students in preparation for fire or school shootings, the fact is that more children, teens, faculty and visitors will die in U.S. schools from SCA each year. Yet, schools do not drill for cardiac emergencies.
To help schools implement routine cardiac arrest drills, the HCMA created "Drill Dr. Heart" – a four step action plan – that enables bystanders, be they students, teachers, athletic coaches and administrative staff to deal with cardiac emergencies.
The HCMA’s "Drill Dr. Heart" video demonstrates six tasks students may be assigned to do under the supervision of an adult: 1) get the AED (automated external defibrillators) which all schools should have in a prominent location; 2) call 911; 3) get the school nurse, coach or other school staff members; 4) stand at the entrance to the school where the EMS team will arrive and guide them to the victim; 5) clear the area of desks, chairs, or any necessary equipment; and 6) clear other students away.
"The ultimate goal of 'Drill Dr. Heart' is to ensure that children, teens and adults at every school, sports team, community group and workplace in America practices the drill and is prepared to react to others experiencing sudden cardiac arrest,” said Salberg.
Call to Action: Passage of the HEARTs Act and Donations in Memory of Eric
Two years ago, a fortuitous meeting between Salberg, and New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. was instrumental in the drafting of the Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Risk Assessment, and Training in the Schools (HEARTs) Act, a bill which Pallone introduced to Congress last month.
The HEARTs Act mandates raising awareness about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in schools and childcare centers and requires better prevention measures that will save young people’s lives. It requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate with the Centers for Disease Control as well as patient advocacy and health professional organizations to develop and distribute materials about SCA. Also, it requires guidelines regarding the placement of life-saving automated external defibrillators in schools and information on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.
“It is because of young people like Eric Micheo that the HCMA will continue to lobby hard for the passage of this bill,” said Salberg.
For more information about the HCMA and “Drill Dr. Heart,” or to make a donation in Eric’s memory, visit www.4hcm.org.
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About the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association (HCMA)
Founded in 1996 by Lisa Salberg, the HCMA is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization that provides comprehensive information about Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic disease that causes a thickening of the heart muscle. The HCMA provides support and advocacy for HCM patients and their families and medical providers to help prevent untimely deaths and advance global understanding about this incurable disease. For more information, visit www.4hcm.org or call 973-983-7429.