Portable Defibrillators Have Saved 55 Lives in New York State

April 12, 2011
Since Louis’ Law was enacted in 2002, requiring automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools, the widespread use of this equipment has helped save 55 lives in New York State, according to the Louis J. Acompora Memorial Foundation.

Louis’ Law is named after 14-year-old Louis J. Acompora, a Long Island athlete whose heart stopped after he was struck in the chest by a lacrosse ball. His death might have been prevented with the availability of a portable defibrillator. Working with the Acompora family, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg authored this law, which passed with bipartisan support.

Louis’ mother, Karen Acompora said, “Harvey is a hero to each and every one of those lives that he’s saved, and to us as well.”

Most recently, William Johnson of Niskayuna was playing a game of pickup basketball when his heart suddenly stopped. While some of Johnson’s teammates immediately began administering CPR, the school’s custodian retrieved the school’s AED and resuscitated him.

AEDs have proven extremely helpful in cardiac arrest cases like Louis’, and their use greatly increases a victim’s chance of survival when administered promptly. In fact, the American Heart Association estimates that as many as 100,000 deaths could be prevented each year in the United States through the widespread use of AEDs.

Building on the success of 2002’s Louis’ Law, Weisenberg successfully championed several other measures to step up the state’s AED requirements. The legislation:

  • requires health clubs to have AEDs (Ch. 186 of 2004);
  • requires AEDs to be in public buildings with a capacity of 1,000 or more people (Ch. 683 of 2006); and
  • requires the location of AEDs to be posted on building entrances (Ch. 236 of 2007).

“These laws save lives,” said Weisenberg. “It’s that simple. And the 55 New Yorkers who were brought back to life by AEDs were saved because of this legislation.”