Near-Death Incident Brings Defibrillator Issue To Forefront

The State Worker

A heart that stopped beating and a union grievance filing appear to have been enough to persuade the California Environmental Protection Agency to change course recently on the installation of automated external defibrillators at its headquarters.

The state scientist's union alleged that the agency stymied efforts for six months to deploy seven brand-new devices in a 25-story building that had only one other defibrillator device. Commonly referred to as AEDs, they are portable, purse-sized and battery-operated devices that provide electric shocks to help return a heart to a normal rhythm. Agency officials were hesitant to sign off on the new devices because of liability concerns.

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