PaperTexture - Mother who fought for Dominic's Law in New York wants defibrillator requirement applied to private schools

Mother who fought for Dominic’s Law in New York wants defibrillator requirement applied to private schools

By Alice Gainer

NEW YORK — In New York, the law says schools must have an automated external defibrillator, or AED, in case a person has heart problems. But it doesn’t apply to private schools.

One mother is on a mission to make sure every school has this life-saving equipment, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported Monday.

Seventh and eighth graders are Resurrection Ascension Catholic Academy in Rego Park, Queens learn CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator.

Volunteers with the Dominic A. Murray 21 Memorial Foundation provide the training.

In 2009, Melinda Murray-Nyack’s 17-year-old son Dominic went into sudden cardiac arrest on the basketball court at school and died.

“He was the most genuine, affectionate, charismatic, athletic young man,” said Murray-Nyack. “No one knew what to do right away. No one started CPR right away. The AED wasn’t used until EMS arrived.”

Murray-Nyack’s foundation educates and trains others with the ultimate goal of prevention.

“We were more than happy to donate an AED to the school,” said Murray-Nyack.

Private schools in New York are not required to have an AED, but an amendment introduced in the New York City Council would change that and also require them in police patrol cars.

“It’s a commonsense bill,” said Council Member and bill sponsor Rafael Salamanca Jr. “Now that we’re done with the budget season, I’ve gotten a commitment from the chair of the Health Committee to give this bill a hearing.”

In sudden cardiac arrest, the heart’s electrical system malfunctions. It stops beating properly and time is critical. Seconds matter.

“That’s what this defibrillator does. It puts the heart back into sync so the electrical signal returns to normal,” said Dr. Eric Fethke, a pediatric cardiologist.

Murray-Nyack’s son was medically cleared to play college sports. No one knew he had a congenital heart defect until the autopsy. His father died of a fatal heart attack three years prior.

It took 10 years, but the Dominic Murray Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act went into effect in July.

Public and private schools must provide families with information on sudden cardiac arrest signs, symptoms, risks and prevention.

“It’s part of every pre-participation sports package, every permission slip,” said Murray-Nyack. “The child, they are required to complete heart health forms as well as their parents.”

Dominic’s Law says any student displaying signs of increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest must be removed from athletic activities until cleared by a licensed physician.

“Dominic passed on the torch to me and I’m finishing the game for him that he started 13 years ago,” said Murray-Nyack.

She lost her only child wants to make sure no other parent goes through the same thing.

Mother who fought for Dominic’s Law in New York wants defibrillator requirement applied to private schools
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