Posts Tagged ‘AED’

Lowering the Risk of Health Club Deaths With AEDs

State law may require their presence in health clubs

The California family of a man who died of cardiac arrest received a settlement in their lawsuit alleging negligence and wrongful death against a Studio City gym and a personal trainer. The gym member, Marc Palotay, went into cardiac arrest while working out under the supervision of his personal trainer. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed.

The trainer, who was an independent contractor and not a Studio City employee, failed to attempt aid with an AED (automatic external defibrillator) despite knowing his client was having a heart attack. The lawsuit alleged Palotay didn’t receive defibrillation until paramedics arrived, a delay which resulted in his death.

The family claimed no defibrillator was in place at the gym, as mandated by state law. A Studio City manager stated that an AED was on the premises, but the personal trainer was responsible for its use in this case. The same manager pointed out that Palotay, upon joining the gym, had signed Studio City’s waiver of liability.

AEDs in health clubs

Laws regarding AEDs began emerging across the U.S. in the 1990s, including Good Samaritan laws. The hope was that legislation would decrease the risks of liability and AEDs and Risk Managementencourage placement and use of AEDs in public settings. While each state has existing AED-related laws, they vary widely.

AEDs are required in health clubs by state law in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Rhode Island. Most hotel spas are exempt from such laws. Washington, DC requires AEDs in recreational facilities.

Use of an AED in a health club can save lives, but it also carries heavy responsibilities, not the least of which are regular maintenance and staff training. Learn more in “Use of Defibrillators in Fitness Clubs” and “Defibrillator Failure: Fitness Center Liability.”  

The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation provides information on AED laws in each state here.


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Medical Emergencies in Youth Sports

CPR and first aid training for coaches is critical

Sadler Sports and Recreation Insurance has always been a strong advocate of youth sports coaches and volunteers receiving first aid and emergency training. Injuries and medical emergencies can occur anywhere, at anytime to anyone, especially in a sporting environment. Coaches and other adults in attendance during practices and play have to be able to respond in such cases. Unfortunately, only 40 percent of youth coaches have any safety training, according to a 2012 SafeKids Worldwide survey.

There’s really no excuse for such lack of training because certification classes in first aid and CPR are offered in every community for free or very little cost. It’s the responsibility of the sports organization and local community to ensure that coaches and volunteers have access to the training needed to respond appropriately to an injury or life-threatening event.

Empowering your volunteers

In particular, the education of volunteers in safety procedures strengthens the sports program. Volunteers offer their time and energy in so many capacities. They should be given the tools they need to be an even greater help, which means safety training or recertification at no cost to them. And it’s important to remember that coaches and volunteers serve as safety role models for the youth with whom they’re working. Older athletes should be encouraged to register for CPR and first aid certification courses, as well.

No matter what sport you’re involved with, the unexpected can occur. Here are a few examples of emergency situations where immediate administration of first-aid made all the difference to the injured person.

  • An Alabama high school football player collapsed during the first practice of the season. Coaches and the athletic trainer sprang into action, quickly determining a case of cardiac arrest after seeing no signs of concussion, heat stroke or dehydration. The trainer used the school’s AED while waiting for EMTs to arrive on the scene. The teen survived, thanks to the safety training his coaches had received.
  • An Oregon varsity high school basketball game was unexpectedly interrupted when an official collapsed on the court. Quick thinking staff, students and medical professionals in the stands rushed to his aid, administering CPR until an ambulance arrived.
  • An 8-year-old youth baseball player collapsed after being hit in the chest by a batted ball. It was his good fortune that two off-duty paramedics who were in the stands were able to administer CPR until paramedics arrived and transported him to the hospital.

You can’t count on there being someone nearby who will know what to do in a medical emergency. Whether the injured person is one of the athletes, a trainer, an official or a fan in the stands, the coaches are who people will look to for help in an emergency.

Getting the necessary training

The American Red Cross offers CPR/AED training as well as specific first aid, health and safety training for sports coaches. Because CPR techniques and use of AEDs on children and adults differ, it’s important that coaches receive training for medical assistance for both age groups

The National Alliance for Youth Sports encourages all volunteer coaches get CPR training. Their website offers member coaches access to a first aid and CPR section full of safety information, including how to develop an emergency action plan. NAYS also offers free concussion training for coaches and volunteers.

Automatic External Defibrillators in Ballparks

Does General Liability provide coverage for negligent use?

Several states have enacted legislation requiring sports organizations to make available automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) at the ballpark and training staff in their location and use.The question that often arises is “Does our General Liability policy provide coverage if something goes wrong and the sports organization and the person administering the AED are sued?”
The applicable provisions in most General Liability policy forms are as follows:
  • Does the policy have a professional medical services exclusion that applies to the sports organization as an entity itself and to all other insured persons?
  • To what extent does the policy limit the scope of coverage for employees and volunteers as follows:

Section II — Who Is An Insured

2. Each of the following is also an insured:

a. Your “volunteer workers… or your employees” However, none are insureds for:

(1) “Bodily Injury” or “personal and advertising injury”:

(d) Arising out of his or her providing or failing to provide professional health care services.

According to K&K Insurance Group, the simple answer is that the standard General Liability policy form will likely respond to such a lawsuit if the AED is administered by a lay person. This situation is considered to be more like the rendering of first aid rather than a professional health care service. On the other hand, if the AED is administered by a nurse or doctor, their own Professional Liability policy would likely provide primary coverage.  Of course, they add the normal disclaimer that coverage for any claim will stand on its own unique circumstances and all policy coverages, exclusions, limitations, conditions, and definitions will apply.

Apparently, AED technology is greatly improved to the extent that it is almost impossible to make an error in its use. The newer models will only activate if no heart beat is detected or if the heart is so out of rhythm that the patient is in a life threatening situation.

Please see our article on AEDs in public schools.