Global’s Update – 07/20/10

Remembering John Harris

Forty motorcyclists participated in John’s Journey in Woodstock, Ontario last weekend. The ride raises money for the Ontario Heart and Stroke Foundation in the memory of John Harris.

John worked at the Firestone Textile Factory at Woodstock and it was there that he collapsed of a heart attack metres from an automated external defibrillator (AED) hanging on the wall. John didn’t receive CPR. The AED remained packed away in its wall mounted case. Paramedics had difficulty getting to the plant. Everything that could have went wrong did go wrong,” remembered Brenda Harris, John’s widow. At the hospital, irretrievably brain-damaged, he spent 11 days in a coma before John was taken off of life support.

For those who make the decision to purchase and make available an AED in the workplace, this serves as a stark reminder on how far from complete their work is from being done when the equipment arrives. Making an AED available is an excellent beginning, but a beginning is all it is. If they mean to take truly meaningful steps to protect the health and welfare of their staff and visitors during a cardiac emergency, organizations must also have a plan: a plan for care and for the transfer of care to paramedics. That plan needs to be effective and it needs to be known by the people present at the emergency. We can never assume an AED will ensure its own deployment simply by being present.

At noon on Saturday riders who had paid an entry fee and collected pledges rode about 200 kilometres through the neighbouring counties, past John’s mother’s house and then met for a meal at the Moose Lodge in Woodstock. For Brenda Harris, the ride has significance beyond fundraising. “The training not only has to be there, it has to be used,” she said. “People need to be aware they have to step up.” Woodstock Sentinel Review

Nicotine, motion sickness and now influenza vaccine (and maybe insulin)

Researchers at Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a patch that may present vaccination options for people who dislike hypodermic needles. The patch is smaller than a penny and has a hundred tiny micro-needles that, when pressed painlessly against the skin, penetrate the outer layers and dissolve. If it passes human trials, the patch could show up in doctors’ offices in the next five years and become a delivery system for other drugs.

The WHO Pandemic Alert level remains at Phase 6

*Influenza A (H1N1) Cases and Deaths*

*Cases reported by The World Health Organization (WHO) are as of July 11, 2010

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