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Parker Jewish gets help for troubled hearts

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At least at Queens' Parker Jewish Institute, where 22 Automatic External Defibrillators were purchased, the few large manual defibrillators of old are being replaced by mobile ones the size of suitcases with computer voices to guide with instructions and paper-thin pads to pass the electricity.Purchased through state grants secured by Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Little Neck), the $2,000-a-piece AEDs will pair up in each nursing unit in what Parker officials said was the most extensive placement of defibrillators in a state long-term care facility."Although I hope we don't have to use them too often, I'm glad they're here," Weprin said Friday during an AED demonstration at the New Hyde Park institute, which specializes in rehabilitation and care for seniors..So is Jennifer Fergusson. Last year the events planner was in her office at the Greater New York Hospital Association when co-workers discovered her slumped unconscious at her desk. One ran for a defibrillator and shocked Fergusson five times before she was revived from nearly 15 minutes of unconsciousness."My life's mission now is to try to get defibrillators into as many places as possible," said Fergusson, who has a miniature one now implanted in her chest. "I'd like to see these machines in offices, churches, synagogues, schools, homes, everywhere."Due to legislation passed in 2002 after a student football player died on the field because no defibrillator was on hand, every school in the state must have an AED.But no facility has as many on hand as Parker, which sits on the Long Island Jewish Medical Center campus, said Carly Burnett, of Medtronic, the company that manufactures the defibrillators.With a push of a button, nurse Donna Caccavale sent between 200 and 350 jewels of electricity through a manikin during the demonstration. But unlike the manual defibrillators, the AED only allows Caccavale to send the shock if the computer locates a "shockable rhythm" in the heart, which she compared to a "bowl of Jello" when in cardiac arrest."It's always on hand and any layperson can operate it," Caccavale said.Reach reporter Zach Patberg by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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