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Doctor’s Diagnosis: More Defibrillators Needed

By Todd McHale

Burlington County Times | October 22, 2007

Dr. Sanford Gips knows all too well the difficulties of saving someone who is suffering from sudden cardiac arrest without access to an automated external defibrillator.

While in high school, Gips lost a 17-year-old friend and classmate to the deadly condition.

“I’m a cardiologist, and I’m fairly powerless to do anything beyond CPR without access to a defibrillator,” Gips said. “I know how effective these defibrillators are and how ineffective we are without them.”

So, the Moorestown physician has made it his personal mission to educate the public about the importance of having these devices in every school and recreation facility as well as any other place where large numbers of people congregate.

Earlier this year, Gips created the “Save a Life Initiative” with the help of the other doctors in his group, Cardiovascular Associates of the Delaware Valley. The goal of the initiative is to provide free automated external defibrillators and CPR training throughout South Jersey.

“More people die from sudden cardiac arrest than AIDS, breast cancer and automobile accidents combined,” Gips said. “The majority of those people had no warning signs. And a lot of times these people could have been saved if there was access to (a defibrillator).”

The American Heart Association estimates that up to 40,000 lives could be saved in the United States each year if defibrillators were more widely available.

Gips said time is the crucial element to saving someone suffering from cardiac arrest.

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