“A defibrillator onsite? No thanks, EMS is waiting to help”: AEDs and the importance of being prepared

What does patient safety mean to you? Is a small investment worth saving a patient’s life? Or maybe the life of a staff member, or maybe even your own life? An interesting point was brought to my attention today during a Brain Food Seminar from a dentist who doesn’t believe in having an automated external defibrillator onsite due to clinic location being in close proximity to a hospital.  “We don’t need an AED, the hospital is right across the street”.

This is one of my favourite and most frequent comments I hear in the industry. People tend to forget that cardiac arrest can occur at any age, at any time, to people of all fitness levels, and without warning. We only have minutes to help before death can occur.

Although your clinic may be close to a health care facility or even across the street from emergency responders, the emergency dispatch steps work the same way regardless of your location.  Although the clinic may be located by a hospital or by an EMS station, we need to be able to take on the challenge of SCA should emergency responders be busy elsewhere.  We also need to take into consideration traffic or road congestion. With such a high-risk emergency like sudden cardiac arrest, we do not want to take the risk of waiting on immediate attention from an outside party. For the health of our dental community and patients, I encourage all clinics to be equipped with an easy to use defibrillator because of course; it’s easier to be over prepared than under prepared.