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PulsePoint App Saves Seattle Man From Cardiac Death

Photo from Pixabay

Stephen DeMont of Seattle couldn’t have looked for a better place to have a cardiac arrest. When he collapsed at a bus stop in front of the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle last week, a medical student rushed to help him and begin chest compressions. Nearby, a cardiac nurse who had just finished her shift got an app alert on her phone and sprinted a few meters outside to assist.

Five days later, DeMont is back on his feet and praising the PulsePoint app for helping save his life. The app had notified 41 people with a 330-yard radius that he needed medical attention, Fox News reports.

Seattle officials say this rescue highlights the potential the free app has for saving lives.

It connects CPR-trained civilians with patients in urgent need of their assistance.

PulsePoint is currently used in 2,000 cities across 28 states in the US.

DeMont’s wife, Debi Quirk, a former registered nurse, says she downloaded the app. If not for it, she says, “He would not be here as we see him today.”

About 4,000 people have downloaded PulsePoint in Seattle since the city adopted it earlier in 2016, with financial backing from a charity in Boeing. Officials hope DeMont’s story encourages more residents to use the app, the target being 15,000.

PulsePoint was developed by a former fire chief named Richard Price in northern California. It works using a city’s 911 system, where operators alert people within a certain radius that someone needs CPR assistance, sending the location of the nearest portable defibrillator to phones that have the app installed.

Price came up with the idea in 2009, while sitting at a restaurant. His crews at the San Ramon Valley fire department pulled up, sirens blaring, to attend to a patient in the same building. Price says, “The patient was unconscious, unresponsive. I was 20 feet away on the other side of the wall. The whole time I was listening to that siren, I could have been making a difference.”

He thought that at any given time, two-thirds of his staff was off duty. But if there was a way to alert them to emergencies via phone, it could make all the difference between life and death.

So far, around 900,000 have the app installed on their phones, and 34,000 people have been activated to respond. Alerts have been issues in 13,000 cardiac emergencies.

Madeline Dahl, the nurse from the University of Washington Medical Center who assisted DeMont, says she downloaded the app a month ago after reading about it. Last Friday was the first time she had ever received an alert, and bolted down the stairs out into the rain, where Zach Forcade was already performing chest compressions.

Forcade had been on his way to the hospital for a lecture when he saw DeMont get off his bicycle and slump over. He told a passerby to call 911 as he began CPR, which sent off the alert.

DeMont, who describes his feelings towards technology as a “love-hate relationship,” reaffirmed his belief that it can make a difference. He’s now on another app, GoFundMe, to pay for a defibrillator and his $100,000 medical tab.

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