Texas Health Resources Donates Defibrillators to 51 North Texas schools
08/15/2008
ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas Health Resources has launched “Gift from the Heart,” a community benefit program designed to save young lives by providing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to 51 low-income schools throughout North Texas.

Texas Health, one of the largest faith-based, non-profit health care systems in the United States, is donating the AEDs to secondary schools located near its hospitals, which span eight counties, including Dallas, Tarrant, and Collin. The donation comes as the company unites its longstanding community hospitals – Presbyterian, Harris Methodist and Arlington Memorial – under a new brand strategy.

“In keeping with our non-profit mission to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve, we could think of no better way to share the coming of a new brand than to give back to our schools,” said Douglas D. Hawthorne, FACHE, CEO of Texas Health, who announced the donation on Aug. 15 at Lamar High School in Arlington. “Our hope is that this gift will increase the chance of survival for students, faculty, and guests who may suffer sudden cardiac arrest while at school or attending campus activities.”

Starting Jan. 1, Texas Health’s hospitals will become Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial. Sign replacement will begin in November.

More than 250,000 Americans of all ages die each year from sudden cardiac arrest, about 7,000 of which are children and teens. An AED, about the size of a lunchbox, is a device that shocks the heart to restore a normal heartbeat. It is the single most effective treatment for restarting the heart after sudden cardiac arrest.

“Gift from the Heart” is one of many community benefit initiatives undertaken by Texas Health, which spends more than $450 million annually – the equivalent of more than $1 million a day – in charity care and community benefit.

“The presence of these AEDs will add another level of safety for everyone in our school buildings – students, faculty, staff, parents, and members of the community,” said Jerry McCullough, interim superintendent of the Arlington Independent School District.

AEDs are designed to allow people with no medical training to respond to cardiac emergencies by giving a life-saving shock to restore the heart to its normal rhythm. The machines give detailed instructions and analyze the heart rate to determine whether a shock is needed.

For every minute that passes between cardiac arrest and defibrillation, a person’s chance of survival decreases up to 10 percent, according to the American Heart Association. Schools are required by law to have an AED available at all University Interscholastic League athletic practices and competitions. The presence of additional strategically-placed AEDs can reduce the time it takes to retrieve the life-saving devices.

Texas Health’s goal is to deliver AEDs to all of the designated campuses during the fall semester and to train staff members to operate the devices. This staff education is designed to help people at each school feel confident about responding to an emergency.

“Studies show that when AEDs are placed in public areas and are used quickly, then survival can be 50 to 75 percent or even greater,” said Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck, M.D., who attended Texas Health’s announcement ceremony on Aug. 15. Mayor Cluck has spearheaded efforts to teach 10 percent of Arlington’s population how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the next five years.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources (THR) is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR’s system of 13 hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System, and a medical research organization. THR is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit http://www.texashealth.org/homepage.cfm.

“Gift From the Heart” Recipients by District

Anna ISD: Anna High School

Arlington ISD: Arlington High School, Bowie High School, Lamar High School, Sam Houston High School, Seguin High School and Venture Alternative School

Azle ISD: Azle Junior High School

Castleberry ISD: Castleberry High School

Cleburne ISD: Cleburne High School

Crowley ISD: Crowley High School

Dallas ISD: Bryan Adams High School, Emmett Conrad High School, Hillcrest High School, James Madison High School, L.G. Pinkston High School, Lincoln High School, North Dallas High School, Roosevelt High School, Sunset High School, Thomas Jefferson High School, W.H. Adamson High School, W.T. White High School, W.W. Samuell High School and Woodrow Wilson High School

Dublin ISD: Dublin High School

Everman ISD: Everman High School

Fort Worth ISD: Arlington Heights High School, Carter-Riverside High School, Diamond Hill High School, Dunbar High School, Eastern Hills High School, North Side High School, O.D. Wyatt High School, Paschal High School, Polytechnic High School, South Hills High School and Success High School

Grand Prairie ISD: Grand Prairie High School and South Grand Prairie High School

Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD: Trinity High School

Kaufman ISD: Kaufman High School

Lake Worth ISD: Lake Worth High School

Mansfield ISD: Mansfield Timberview High School

Plano ISD: Williams High School

Springtown ISD: Springtown High School

Stephenville ISD: Henderson Junior High School

White Settlement ISD: Brewer High School and Mesa High School

Winnsboro ISD: Winnsboro High School