AMR Pushes For Portable Defibrillators At All Casinos

An automated external defibrillator -- or AED -- has been a true life saver, especially at crowded coast casinos. Just ask Palace Casino EMT Jimmy Raybon.

Two years ago, a slot machine guest collapsed on the floor. Raybon was on duty.

"He clearly had no pulse, no respiration, no blood pressure, nothing," Raybon remembered. "He was totally gone. If it wasn't for our AED that the casino bought for us, we wouldn't have saved his life."

Greg Doyle is American Medical Response's training coordinator. His job is to teach people how to effectively use the AED.

"This is probably the most significant, had the most impact on saving people's lives," he said.

Doyle's boss is Steve Delahousey. He's a big proponent of the portable defibrillator. "It's proven to be very successful."

Every coast casino has AED machines. According to American Medical Response, they were used 14 times last year. On eight occasions, 58% of the time, the cardiac patient regained a spontaneous pulse before reaching the hospital. Delahousey said without AED's, the return to a normal pulse would have been more like one out of 14, just seven percent.

"I guess one could argue that your chances of being successfully resuscitated are probably better in a casino than they are in most public gathering places," he said with a smile.

AMR wants the success at coast casinos to spread. It's encouraging the Mississippi Gaming Commission to place AED's at every state casino resort, so a guest is never more than three minutes away from a defibrillator. When it comes to cardiac arrest, Delahousey said every second counts.

"If someone has a cardiac arrest and it takes us longer than eight minutes to deliver a shock, there's virtually no chance of them surviving," he said.

According to the gaming commission, the Jubilee Casino in Greenville is the only Mississippi casino without an AED. The defibrillator regulation will come up at the August gaming commission meeting.

Casinos aren't the only businesses that keep a defibrillator nearby. Mary Mahoney's restaurant has an AED. So does the coliseum and the airport. And Hancock Bank just ordered cardiac machines for its Gulfport administration building.