By: Leland Kim
(KHNL) - More than 900 Americans die every day from heart failure. And many of them have never been hospitalized or visited the ER. One local organization is trying to slow that number down and it is starting with our keiki.
The cost is about $160,000 to put in automated external defibrillators or AEDs at all of Hawaii's public high schools. But the Hawaii Medical Service Association and AED survivors say this project is worth every penny.
This machine saves lives. Brent Taniguchi and Lee Donohue suffered heart attacks. AEDs shocked them back to life.
"I truly believe in the AEDs, even more so now because it's been used on me," said AED survivor Brent Taniguchi.
Taniguchi coaches baseball at Castle High School. Earlier this year in Maui, he was warming up with players on the field. He sat down to rest before a game.
"Next thing you know, I just collapsed inside the dugout and woke up in the emergency room at War Memorial Hospital," said Taniguchi.
Coach Taniguchi collapsed in Maui on a field similar to the one at Castle. Experts say AEDs can dramatically increase a person's chance of survival -- more than twice as much as CPR alone.
And AEDs' voice-guided instructions make them easy to use.
Former Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donohue's partner had one of these machines when he collapsed seven years ago.
"The stars were aligned and I was saved. And here I am today," said Donohue.
Both Chief Donohue and Coach Taniguchi are thankful.
"I feel good. I mean, I just take it day by day. I've always taken it day by day but I feel even more so grateful and thankful," said Taniguchi.
"You look at life a little more differently," said Donohue. "More tolerant, more forgiving, and enjoying life and enjoying those around you."
Now, Hawaii's high school students can also enjoy life more and worry a bit less.