Automatic Defibrillators Tabled by Skeptical OVA Board

Last Updated: 01-23-20

Al Haggerty

            Concerned mostly about liability issues, the Oakmont Village Association board of directors tabled a resolution at its Jan. 21 meeting to purchase up to five automatic external defibrillators for approximately $10,000 for OVA’s common area buildings, including Berger Center, the Central Activities Center and the East and West recreation centers.

            This is the second time the defibrillator issue has hit a snag. In March, 2013, a special committee recommended that OVA not purchase AEDs for its facilities unless there is broad support among residents and a substantial number take and retake as required training.

            Linne McAleer, who worked with Tom and Marilyn Pugliese on the proposal to purchase the ADTs, told the board that the American Heart Association’s chain of survival includes rapid defibrillation. It describes defibrillation as a process in which an electronic device gives an electrical shock to the heart. It stops ventricular fibrillation by using an electrical shock and allows the return of normal heart rhythm. A victim’s chance of survival, according to the AHA, decreases by 7 to 10 percent for every minute that passes without defibrillation.

            McAleer, who teaches a hand-only CPR class in Oakmont, cited the differences between a 2013 report, which showed 35 of 40 Oakmont residents responding opposed installing AEDs, and a current raft of more than 370 petition signatures of residents supporting the proposal and willing to volunteer for training.

            Supporting documents indicate that ADTs are favored by the Oakmont Health Initiative, the Oakmont Emergency Preparedness Committee, the Oakmont Fitness Club and Water Aerobics. McAleer said seven of eight active adult communities in the Bay Area have ADTs.

            The question appeared to turn on the issue of liability and the extent to which Good Samaritan laws, which exempt people from liability, cover those who might apply a defibrillator, including nurses and doctors.

            In addition, a paper on defibrillators from Adams/Stirling, a professional law corporation, said: “The purchase of AEDs by associations can create liability if the victim of a sudden cardiac arrest were to suffer brain damage or dies because of alleged negligence by the association. Plaintiff’s lawyers would likely claim the association induced their client to rely on the association’s employees to save his life. They would allege that but for the inducements and the association’s negligence their client would have taken other precautions to protect against a heart attack.”

 

DOG PARK CONTRACT

            The planned dog park near the Volunteer Trail on Stone Bridge Drive moved a step closer to realization when the board voted unanimously to approve a contract with Mitchell Landscape for $131,428 to build the park and $7,840 to install a concrete parking area to replace an asphalt parking area. The approval was pending a review by the Finance Committee and a review of the contract by attorneys.