WASHINGTON - February 27 - U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Susan
Collins (R-ME) have introduced legislation to reauthorize the Automated
Defibrillators in Adam's Memory Act, or the ADAM Act. The bill is modeled
after the successful Project ADAM that originally began in Wisconsin,
and establishes a national clearing house to help schools set up public
programs that provide access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
The ADAM Act, originally introduced by Feingold and Collins, became
law in 2003. This effort is part of Feingold’s “Health Care
Week” to help address health care issues facing Wisconsin communities.
“Congress should fund this important program so more schools
and communities across the country are prepared if tragedy strikes,”
Feingold said. “Project ADAM has been greatly successful in preparing
Wisconsin communities and we should be doing what we can to spread information
about the importance of defibrillators in schools nationwide.”
Although sudden cardiac deaths occur more commonly in adults, each
year an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 children across the country die suddenly
without exhibiting previous symptoms. The ADAM Act is designed to help
schools with technical guidance, appropriate training, fund-raising
techniques, and other logistics required for successful programs. The
ADAM Act was inspired by Adam Lemel, a 17-year-old high school student
from Wisconsin who collapsed and died from an undiagnosed heart condition
while playing in a junior varsity basketball game.
“Sudden cardiac arrest takes nearly 325,000 lives annually,”
Feingold said. “The more we can do to educate schools on how to
obtain and operate defibrillators, the more lives we can save.”
Feingold and Collins have also worked on another initiative to empower
communities and improve cardiac arrest survival rates. In 2002, the
Senators introduced and helped pass into law the Rural Access to Emergency
Devices Act, which allows community partnerships across the country
to receive a grant enabling them to purchase defibrillators, and receive
the training needed to use these devices. Currently, the program has
funded nearly $45 million in grants to help save lives in rural areas
by providing AEDs.