Pine resident working to save people from cardiac arrest
By Deborah Deasy
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Each day, an estimated 1,000 people experience sudden cardiac arrest.
But only about 10 percent of them survive the abrupt cessation of heart function.
“When someone is treated quickly, then the survival rate increases to 40 percent,” said Mary Newman of Pine, president and co-founder of the nonprofit Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.
The organization — based in a one-room office off Route 19 in Pine — aims to increase public use of automated external defibrillators — AED machines — and boost the number of bystanders who apply cardiopulmonary resuscitation to someone in cardiac arrest.
There's no need to press your lips on a stranger's mouth and start breathing for them. Simply place one of your hands on your other hand, and then rhythmically press hard and fast — about two times per second — on the center of the victim's chest.
The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation sells a kit for people who want to teach themselves how to do hands-only CPR.
Sue Hostler of Bradford Woods recently used the hands-only method to save the life of a young man when she found him unconscious in an elevator at Philadelphia International Airport.
Doing chest-compression CPR by itself is effective, and getting out that information definitely will help save lives, said Dr. Norman Abramson, chairman of the board of directors of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.
The foundation “is dedicated to making people aware that sudden cardiac arrest — sudden cardiac death — can occur in people of all ages,” Abramson said. “Mary (Newman) has been instrumental and successful in increasing awareness of the occurrence of sudden cardiac arrest, and what to do about it, so that bystander intervention can help save lives,” Abramson said.
Newman also oversees the foundation's publications and online community of sudden cardiac arrest survivors and their loved ones.
A New Jersey native and single mother of four, Newman helped to launch the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation in 2006.
She has a master's degree in nonprofit management from Robert Morris University, and a bachelor's degree in community health administration from the University of Cincinnati.
“I've always been interested in health care,” Newman said. She previously worked for the former National Center for Early Defibrillation at the University of Pittsburgh.
Sudden cardiac arrest usually stems from an electrical problem in the heart, Newman said. “A heart attack is more of a plumbing problem,” she said.
Unlike folks who report pain during a heart attack, people immediately become unconscious during a sudden cessation of heart function, Newman said.
“In about half of the cases, there is no warning,” Newman said. “If you see someone collapse, call 911 and start CPR while sending someone to seek the nearest defibrillator.”
New AED machines cost $1,000 to $1,500 and come with loud, easy-to-follow voice commands.
“AEDs are designed for use by the general public,” she said. “The device knows if somebody needs to be shocked.”
To learn CPR, Newman suggests that people check with a nearby hospital or fire department for upcoming classes. Start the Heart, a Pine-based business, also offers weekday, evening and weekend CPR classes for health care professionals and lay people. For information on the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, call 724-934-0034, or go to www.sca-aware.org.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NA graduate inspired to help raise funds
- Hampton plans to take some gas station land for park-and-ride lot
- Shaler considers dropping floor on lowest grade possible
- Hampton to honor Pirates manager, township resident Hurdle
- Fox Chapel, neighboring communities hosting platform tennis national championships
- ‘Cool’ visitor waddles to Ross Elementary
- Pine-Richland principal to return to teaching math
- Pine-Richland students wrap up Shakespeare unit with festival
- Giving back part of mission at Oxford Athletic Club
- Shaler North Hills Library jewelry swap to help cover cost for Women of Faith conference
- Shaler Area Middle School gears up for musical