Kelsey-Seybold Employee, Greta Ayers, Receives Director’s Award of Excellence From NASA and American Heartsaver Distinction from American Heart Association for Lifesaving Efforts
Houston (June 11, 2002) – Quick-thinking Kelsey-Seybold Clinic employee Greta Ayers was honored with a Director’s Award of Excellence from director of Space and Life Sciences directorate and NASA astronaut Dr. Dave Williams, as well as an American Heartsaver award by the Gulf Coast District of the American Heart Association for her role in saving the life of a cardiac arrest victim at Johnson Space Center’s Gilruth recreation facility on March 4.
Ayers, one of more than 80 Kelsey-Seybold contractors working at NASA, serves as Assistant Director of Health-Related Fitness at the Gilruth facility. On the day of the incident, she witnessed a man who appeared to be ill following his normal routine of physical activity. Calling on her previous training in Kelsey-Seybold’s cardiology clinic as well as keen observation that something was not right, she assessed the man’s symptoms and determined that he was most likely in cardiac arrest. After evaluating the situation, and with direction from feedback provided by an onsite automated external defibrillator (AED), Ayers administered shock assistance to get the man’s heart into a normal rhythm, stabilizing him until an ambulance could arrive to transport him to a nearby hospital for further treatment.
“It certainly makes you feel good that you can do something to help someone thanks to this amazing machine that we have right here,” said Ayers. “Instead of being another statistic, he is already able to come work out again,” added Ayers.
An AED is a device used to administer electric shock through the chest wall to the heart. Built-in computers assess the patient’s heart rhythm, judge whether defibrillation is needed, and then administer the shock. Audible and/or visual prompts guide the user through the process. Most AEDs are designed for use by non-medical personnel such as police, firefighters, flight attendants, security guards and other lay rescuers who have been properly trained.
Because the chance of survival for a person suffering from sudden cardiac arrest decreases by 7 to 10 percent for each minute that passes without defibrillation, the American Heart Association strongly advocates the availability of AEDs in public and private places where large numbers of people gather or live. About 220,000 people die each year from sudden cardiac arrest. Most AEDs cost only around $3,000.