A void that Mingo County Schools had been attempting to fill for some time was to finally acquire AEDs (automated external defibrillator) for all those schools still lacking them.
Medical officials say the portable device delivers an electric shock to the heart that allows it to resume a normal rhythm following sudden cardiac arrest, which, if not treated immediately, can and often leads to death.
While at least some of the school system’s goal had been met due to officials having been able to supply a few of the larger PK-8s and the two high schools with the life-saving device, coming up with the extra funding to purchase and equip the others had heretofore been unsuccessful.
However, this funding problem was solved recently when Tug Valley ARH Regional Medical Center’s medical staff stepped up to the challenge and purchased the remaining units for the county.
During Tuesday’s regular Mingo County Board of Education meeting, CCEO Tim Hatfield and members of the hospital’s Medical Executive Committee were recognized for their donation.
Because of the AED shortage, and because she believed it was necessary to mitigate all potential medical emergencies at each of the county’s schools if at all possible, being out of options Mingo County Schools Child Nutrition Director Kay Maynard said she turned to Hatfield.
“I told Tim that we really needed some help with AEDs ... that we had them in some schools and some schools we didn’t, and he told me to figure out what we needed and then come before the medical staff to see what they could do,” she said. “In the meantime, Mr. Spence gets a really good rate from WVSSAC ... so I forwarded the information to Mr. Hatfield and said, ‘Hey, this is a really good rate, can you help us?”
Maynard said she and School Nurse Tonya Hagy ultimately put together all pertinent information on the county’s AED policy and presented that information to ARH’s Medical Executive Committee during a recent meeting at the South Williamson hospital.
“We asked for five AEDs and were approved, and since that time they have been purchased and installed at the schools,” she said.
Due to Tug Valley High School not having a unit in place at its athletic complex like Mingo Central, Maynard said the county purchased a sixth unit to have available for the school’s sporting events.
“The hospital has been very supportive of everything we have asked of them,” she said. “They do all the fitness fairs at the PK-8 schools; they do the flu shots, lunch and learns; they’ve done distracted driving programs, just anything we’ve asked of them ... we’re just really appreciative of everything they do for our schools.”
Addressing the board, Hatfield said the AED project represented another opportunity for the hospital to give back to the community.
“That’s why we are a community hospital, and this is just one of many projects I take a lot of pride in our medical staff as well as our employees to get out there and make a difference,” he said. “This is not an ARH account; it’s an account by the medical staff, so these are funds that can be used for anything. I applaud their support, as well as the support of the Mingo County Board of Education.”
Aside from presenting a plaque to Hatfield and members of the medical staff during Tuesday’s meeting, Maynard said smaller plaques will be additionally placed at the AEDs’ respective school locations to further recognize ARH’s contribution.