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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A Student Went into Cardiac Arrest. Now This High School Has an AED in Case Another Emergency Arises

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A Student Went into Cardiac Arrest. Now This High School Has an AED in Case Another Emergency Arises.

by James Coulter

Last year, a high school student went into cardiac arrest. The closest automated external defibrillator was in another locked building. The other closest device was in the gymnasium across campus.

Fortunately, the student survived. However, not wanting another student, teacher, or staff member to suffer a similar experience during an emergency, Avon Park High School had an AED donated and installed inside their main building.

Melanie Brown Culpepper and her team of volunteers from Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation presented the AED on Wednesday evening. Melanie was contacted by Heather Barnes, a dean at the high school, about having a device donated to the school. She requested the AED due to the difficulty that arose during the emergency last May.

“Thankfully we were able to get to an AED in time and our student survived,” Barnes said. “But we realized how the incident and the staff were ‘in the right place at the right time’ for that incident and things may not always happen that way.”

Barnes learned about Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation from a story about a donation to another local high school in Mulberry. Now that an AED has been donated and installed at their school, they will not experience similar difficulties in case another emergency happens.

“I believe that it will give all of us a sense of peace knowing that we can get to an AED quickly anywhere on campus now if we need it,” she said. “You never know when something like this can happen, our student was perfectly healthy and going about her normal day when this happened. It wasn’t until afterward that her and her family discovered she had a heart condition.”

AED donated to Avon Park High School

Melanie started Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation three years ago following the untimely passing of her late fiancée Michael Culpepper, who passed away from cardiac arrest. Not wanting anyone else to experience a similar fate, she started her non-profit organization.

Since its inception, Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation has donated nearly 40 AEDs to local businesses and other establishments across Polk County. Recently, they launched a website that will allow people to locate the nearest AED in case of an emergency.

“Melanie’s story really touched my heart,” Barnes said. “We know how lucky we were to have the response time we did and the incredible staff that worked together to save our student. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that don’t survive…Melanie and her organization are giving a chance of survival to hundreds of people every time they put one of these devices in a school or building. She said ‘If we save one person, it’s worth it’ and I wholeheartedly agree with her.”

For more information about Culpepper’s Cardiac Foundation, visit their website at: https://www.facebook.com/honoringculpepper

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