Studies have somewhat frighteningly shown that eighty percent of sudden cardiac arrest episodes occur at home. And for many years, even though home cardiac defibrillators have been available, those needing them could only get the devices through the benevolence and magic prescription pad of their doctors.
But, thanks to the Food and Drug Administrations advisory panel, these small but critical-to-the saving-of-lives machines can now be purchased with no prescription required. The advisory panel has, thankfully, apparently decided that people have enough sense to figure out how to operate these simple-to-use machines. At least they have declared the defibrillators safe to use at home with no prescription necessary.
Simple, Convenient Lifesaving Right at Home
Cardiac defibrillators work fairly simply: By giving the patient a small shock of energy equal to that of powering a 150-watt light bulb as soon as possible after the episode has begun, his or her life has a fair chance of being saved. The abnormal breathing and unresponsiveness typical of people suffering from cardiac arrest could potentially be alleviated in a matter of seconds. Fifty percent of those receiving treatment from a defibrillator within only five minutes after the initiation of cardiac arrest survive.
Prescriptions Cause Lags in Getting Defibrillators
Since the FDAs waiving of the need for prescriptions, sales of the devices have shot way up above normal. Its apparent that when people have to take the time and expense to go to a doctor, they are far less likely to do so than when all they need do to acquire one is to order from the Internet or to visit their local pharmacy or medical supply store.
Pros and Cons of Ownership
Advocates of the machines cite the nine-minute average arrival time of an ambulance after a 911 call has been placed when someone suffers from sudden cardiac arrest as one excellent reason to have the device on hand. People who are without the benefit of a jumpstart to the heart during this crisis have only a one-percent chance of survival after 10 minutes. When you do the math, its easy to see how critical time is under such conditions.
Those who oppose cardiac patients even owning a defibrillator, much less being able to acquire one without a prescription, have other thoughts. These challengers to the relatively new law insist that people waste precious time hunting for the machine when the first order of the moment should be to immediately dial 911.
Let Naysayers Take the Risk
No way exists for researchers to determine how many lives would or would not be saved from the use of home cardiac defibrillators, but the thought must be considered: If you were a cardiac patient, wouldnt you want the option and convenience of having this lifesaving device at home? Let those who oppose having home cardiac defibrillators rely solely on calling 911 when they or someone they love is undergoing cardiac arrest, but dont stop others from at least having the choice!
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