If you ever take a Metra train into Chicago, you’ll be relieved to know that you have a decent chance of surviving a heart attack on board the train. This is because all those trains are now equipped with automatic external defibrillators, which will re-start the heart in the proper rhythm in case of cardiac arrest.
“The cornerstone of cardiac arrest resuscitation lies in early, decisive action. Even before professional medical personnel arrive, bystanders can save the lives of their fellow citizens. Performing chest compressions and using an AED can almost triple survival outcomes from sudden cardiac arrest,” says Dr. Amer Aldeen, a professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
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The units speak instructions so anyone can use them to offer aid until paramedics arrive. The governor has been pushing to make these as ubiquitous as fire extinguishers. They’re already common in many public facilities, including health clubs.
The devices are now on 300 rail cars on the Metra system serving Northeastern Illinois. Cost: $670,000.