BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - There are new questions Friday regarding the lack of AEDs, or automated external defibrillators, at public recreation fields in Bossier City and Shreveport.
AEDs are used to send shocks into a patient after sudden cardiac arrest. The device's purpose is to 'jump start' the patient's heart to its normal rhythm. These concerns follow a KSLA investigation which uncovered a number of schools without these potentially life-saving devices.
Craig Edwards, a paramedic and Bossier City resident, said he was attending a high school soccer game at Tinsley Park in late 2017, when an athlete suddenly suffered a heart attack.
"Myself, an off-duty Bossier City fireman and a parent who's a physician ran across the field," Edwards said. "We needed the AED...the AED should be within minutes of a cardiac arrest, but we had to wait until the fire department got there."
Fortunately, the young athlete was successfully resuscitated. But after this terrifying moment, Edwards has one request for Bossier City.
"I would prefer we have one [AED] here," Edwards said. "Just to be able to restart that heart as quickly as possible to eliminate any chance of brain damage or organ failure."
KSLA reached out to Bossier City to learn why AEDs are not kept nearby public athletic facilities.
"At any event we have at Tinsley Park when there's a large number of people like there were at that time [during the soccer game], we do have Bossier City Police officers who do have AEDs in their vehicles," said Mark Natale, the spokesperson for Bossier City.
But, according to Edwards, there were not any police officers with AEDs when the young athlete suddenly collapsed. Rather, he said a Bossier Parish sheriff's deputy was present.
However, sheriff's deputies are not equipped with AED's in their units.
"We did CPR till the firemen arrived," Edwards said.
AEDs can cost anywhere from $700 to $2,000. But, Edwards said acquiring these devices could be a shocking and potentially life-saving investment for Northwest Louisiana.
"They're no harder to use than a fire extinguisher and they're completely self-explanatory," Edwards said. "It walks you through everything you need to do and to have that would be a very good thing."
KSLA reached out to Shreveport to find out whether or not AEDs are kept at public recreational facilities. We learned the city does not have these devices either, but officials said police officers and EMS personnel are present at events with large numbers people.