Automated external defibrillators have been used twice since they were installed in all Fayette County schools in 2006. 14-year-old Ben Highland recently collapsed during spring basketball training at Lafayette High School. Cardinal Hill Elementary janitor Bill Ward’s life was saved with a Physio Lifepak CR+ AED in 2009.
Bill Ward, affectionately known as “Mr.Bill”, was working in the cafeteria on November 2, 2009 when he collapsed. Ward, 46 at the time, was the first person an AED was ever used on in a Fayette County school. He says he felt like he had the flu, not like he was having a heart attack. CPR was performed on Ward but did not resuscitate him, and he began to change colors. School staff acted swiftly to retrieve the school’s Physio Lifepak CR+ AED, and he credits their prompt response with saving his life.
The AED that saved Bill’s life hangs next to the front door of the school. After the smiling faces of students, Bill says nothing brightens his day like passing the AED in the hallway. His favorite job is now checking the AED once a month to make sure its battery is working.
According to school leaders, six years ago one AED was installed in every Fayette County elementary and middle school, and three in each high school. Every AED came equipped with infant pediatric pads in case of an emergency involving an infant. The total cost of the AEDs was $151,000, but as Bill Ward can attest, these machines are truly priceless.