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Legislative Extras

Legislative Update EXTRA Jan. 13, 2016

When a person suffers cardiac arrest, immediate action is required. Senate Bill 33 aims to empower Kentuckians with possible life-saving training.

The legislation sponsored by Sen. Max Wise (R-Campbellsville) would require students in grades 9-12 to receive hands-on CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training in school.

In the Senate Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday, lawmakers heard from sports journalist Jody Demling and his son, Tanner, who benefited from prompt attention by CPR-trained individuals. Tanner was born with a heart condition, but doctors have cleared him play lacrosse and live a normal, active life.

Demling was in New York covering a sports event when he got the call every parent fears: his son had collapsed at a game. Doctors and first responders later told the Demlings that Tanner had been without a pulse for approximately 30 minutes yet survived.

How is that possible?

Demling credits two “angels” at the game who were able to perform CPR on Tanner and keep him alive until the first responders arrived. He gave the committee sobering testimony about the ordeal and why passage of the bill would benefit all Kentuckians.

Out of about 424,000 sudden cardiac events, only about 10 percent of victims survive. But the numbers show that having someone trained in CPR assist during an emergency can increase the patient’s chances of survival by 30 percent.

If SB 33 becomes law, Kentucky students will be required to be trained in CPR. Although this will not necessarily make them certified to administer the treatment, the exposure to the fairly simple procedure will be enough to possibly help them save someone’s life in the future.

Questions remain about how schools would implement the legislation. Committee chair Sen. Julie Raque Adams (R-Louisville) noted those concerns as she announced the bill’s favorable response from the committee.

Follow @ReneeKET on Twitter for updates throughout the day, and for a recap of the full day’s activities, watch Legislative Update, weeknights at 11 on KET. You can also follow the Kentucky General Assembly on KET’s Legislative Coverage app for your smartphone or tablet.