Letter of Support for HB427, the MD Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act #mdpolitics #mdga14
Good morning Delegates,
I am writing to you all today to give my endorsement to HB427, the Maryland Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act, which will be before you in a Ways and Means Committee hearing tomorrow at 1 p.m.
I was a freshman at Montgomery Blair High School when Andrew Helgeson was a senior. He taught me to play lacrosse for the first time, and when I was standing around those first days of practice, overwhelmed and confused about what was going on, he took me under his wing. He tragically suffered from a sudden cardiac arrest at home a week before his high school graduation, in 2005. This piqued my interest in emergency medicine, and though my schedule did not permit me to study for an EMT certification at the time, I was able to become certified as a freshman in college, 5 years ago. I have since been able to put my emergency training to use in two cardiac arrests while on duty, including a pediatric arrest, and two while off-duty.
Last year, when I was in grad school at the University of Pennsylvania, I met Darren Sudman, who I know has reached out to some of you. Darren and his wife lost their son, Simon, at infancy to sudden cardiac arrest also in 2005. Darren and Phyllis have since founded Simon’s Fund, a heart-health nonprofit in Pennsylvania. As part of that nonprofit’s work, they were able to introduce the legislation before you today in Pennsylvania, where it was signed into law in 2012.
The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act mirrors the language of the youth athlete concussion act (colloquially known as the Lystedt Law), and has three primary components:
• Parents of student athletes in the public school system must review and sign an information sheet about the warning signs and conditions of sudden cardiac arrests
• Coaches must take an annual online training course about sudden cardiac arrest
• Coaches must remove a player from competition that exhibit symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest, and the player may not return until cleared by a licensed medical professional
Additionally, the fiscal summary provided by the Department of Legislative Services attests to the fact that this bill is revenue- and expenditure-neutral.
Between 1984 and 1991, four athletes died from concussions; during 1992-1996, a total of 17 deaths occurred, according to the CDC; but in 2012, thousands of students died from sudden cardiac arrest, many of them athletes. It is not enough to just protect the heads of our children- we must protect their hearts too. Maryland has a history of enacting heart safety laws- with Andrew’s Law, requiring that every high school and school-sponsored athletic events have an AED available in 2006 and in 2010 enacted laws to assure that program facilitators, individuals, businesses and entities that place AEDs in their establishments are afforded appropriate immunity for AED use.
I sincerely hope that you will consider supporting this bill. I have attached letters of support from Marylanders who have been touched by sudden cardiac arrest, many of them from those who knew Andrew. I apologize for not being in Maryland to witness this hearing; as someone who is interested in politics, legislation, and emergency medicine who has been witnessed the tragedy of cardiac arrest, I would love to have been there, and I hope that this letter will suffice.
J.D. Candidate | Syracuse College of Law ‘16
M.P.A. Candidate | University of Pennsylvania ‘14
B.A., Public Relations & Policy | Syracuse ‘12
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