The city of Manitowoc received 8 brand new automated external defibrillators on Wednesday.  The devices, which are worth about $1500 apiece, were donations from BayCare Clinic, Aurora BayCare Medical Center, and Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc County.

An AED is the only effective treatment for restoring a regular heart rhythm during sudden cardiac arrest, which is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

“A defibrillator will shock a patient’s heart back to a normal rhythm,” says Dr. William Witmer, an interventional cardiologist for Aurora BayCare Cardiology. “So in cardiac sudden death, what happens is a patient’s heart stops beating. And then applying one of these devices, and having it apply a shock, will reset the electrical system of the heart and make it start beating again.”

The AEDs were deemed a necessity in Manitowoc, following a needs study by a local task force that identified several areas that were underserved in terms of AED coverage.  The AED donations will fill those service gaps.

“This’ll improve the survival rate, if patients can get the treatment early enough, from 10% to 75%,” says Dr. Witmer.

The organizations receiving the donated AEDs are:

    Miracle League of the Lakeshore (donated by Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc County)
    The Manitowoc Fire Department command vehicle (BayCare Clinic Emergency Physicians)
    Silver Creek Park Fieldhouse (Dr. William Witmer, Aurora BayCare Cardiology)
    Lincoln Park Cabin (Dr. Alexander Roitstein, Aurora BayCare Cardiothoracic Surgery)
    Manitowoc Area Visitor & Convention Bureau (Dr. Alexander Roitstein, Aurora BayCare Cardiothoracic Surgery)
    S.S. Badger car ferry office (Aurora BayCare Cardiology)
    Manitowoc Youth Baseball Association Complex (Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic)
    Manitowoc City Hall (BayCare Clinic Foundation)