SoutheastHEALTH Ambassadors award AED devices to community organizations

Eleven area organizations were awarded automated external defibrillators (AED) by the SoutheastHEALTH Foundation Ambassadors through an application/greatest need process. Representatives of those organizations are shown here.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a killer. Rapid intervention is crucial to survival. With those facts in mind, the SoutheastHEALTH Ambassadors, an arm of the SoutheastHEALTH Foundation, once again this year purchased automated external defibrillators (AED), the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during a sudden cardiac arrest.

The devices were recently awarded to 11 community organizations through an application/greatest need process. The AEDs were given out at a luncheon held in the Hirsch Community Room at the Cape Girardeau Public Library. Guest speaker Brian Sutterer, MD, a sports medicine physician with Southeast Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, noted that sudden cardiac arrest does not just affect older people. "More and more children are experiencing cardiac arrest due to sports injuries that also involve other high levels of activity, excessive energy drink consumption, environmental factors and more." He emphasized that AED accessibility in public settings is crucial.

Ambassadors President Amanda Baert said heart health awareness, a key component of the Ambassadors' mission, guided the decision to initiate the AED program in 2016. "Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone. Most of these incidents, some 350,000 occur out of the hospital setting, and nearly 90 percent of them are fatal. But if a defibrillator is used within 5 minutes, the survival rate increases to 50 percent. AEDs are truly lifesavers." Since the program began, 53 AEDs have been awarded.

Money for the AEDs was raised through Ambassador events such as a red wine and chocolate pairing. AED recipients this year are Aging Matters, Cape Girardeau; Boy Scout Troop 311, Jackson; Leopold Knights of Columbus; Marquand Zion R-VI; North Cape County Fire Department, Oak Ridge; Oak Ridge R-6 School District; Oran Youth Sports; St. Paul Lutheran Church and School, Jackson; St. Joseph School, Scott City; Williamsville AA Senior Centers; and YMCA of SEMO, Sikeston, Missouri. Groups receiving the AEDs will be trained on their use.

To apply for an AED, visit request. To learn more about donating an AED, visit