How Do You Put a Price on a Life?

May 4, 2012 Updated May 4, 2012 at 2:06 PM EDT

By WKBW News


How Do You Put a Price on a Life?

May 4, 2012 Updated May 4, 2012 at 2:06 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Four years ago, Kristin McCarthy of Bethpage, then 30, died of sudden cardiac arrest.

According to a news release:

Her husband Ryan is one of 80 volunteers who traveled from all over the Empire State to tell their legislators to pass the CPR in Schools bill on May 2nd, S2491/A3980.

“Our son Connor was just three months old when Kristin died,” Ryan McCarthy said. “Teaching CPR in schools could prevent another family from experiencing the loss that we did.”

The CPR in Schools bill would let every student in the state of New York learn CPR before graduating from high school. On Tuesday, May 1, the Senate Education Committee passed it. It now goes to the Senate Finance Committee.

Annette Adamczak of Akron traveled with her family to Albany. Missing is Emily, who was only 14 when sudden cardiac arrest took her life in 2009 on a soccer field.

“Perhaps if we had started CPR immediately, or had an AED on hand, the outcome may have been different,” Adamczak said. “That is the reason for our family's passion to bring CPR into schools. One of these young adults that are learning Hands-Only CPR may save the life of someone they know; maybe a friend, maybe their coach, or maybe your child.”

Madison McCarthy of Evans was 5 when she suffered sudden cardiac arrest during her kindergarten school day.

“It took 18 minutes for first responders to arrive and start CPR,” Madison’s mother Suzanne McCarthy said. “Time matters, and if everyone in New York is trained in CPR, more lives will be saved.”

Hands-Only CPR is effective bystander CPR. Kits are available to schools for less than $28, and Hands-Only CPR can be taught in one or two class periods.

Karen Acompora of Northport has worked tirelessly since her son Louis died of commotio cardis – a rare occurrence of a heart stopping after the victim is struck in the chest – in 2000. Louis was 14. “Louis’ Law” ensured the placement of AEDs in public places.

“Training the next generation of life savers who know how to respond in the event of a cardiac emergency should be a top priority in our school districts,” Acompora said. “With faster response times to a cardiac emergency, we actually have the ability to reduce the number of sudden cardiac deaths in our nation.”

Kaitlin Forbes, 22, of Rhinebeck, survived sudden cardiac arrest in 2005 while playing softball during gym class. She was revived by CPR and the use of an AED.

“I’m living proof that CPR works,” Forbes said. “The people who saved me are heroes. We need more heroes in our communities and heroes aren't born, they are trained. I strongly urge the Legislature to implement Hands-Only CPR for all students.”

Sue Denis of Pierson High School in Sag Harbor brought students to Albany to train legislators and passersby in the Well of the Legislative Office Building. CPR has been taught at Pierson since 1994, and since then, 16 lives have been saved.

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