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AUS Story With A Twist

Wed Mar 28, 2001 6:37 pm

Ordinarily, this wouldn't be much of a news story, except for the person involved. On the evening of March 19, a businessman had been working in Austin and was rushing through the security checkpoint trying to catch a late flight home. Shortly after clearing security, the man collapsed. AUS is one of a few airports that have the automated external defibrillators (AED) installed. It was determined that the man was having a heart attack and bystanders were able to revive him using the AED.

Now here's the twist. The man who was saved was Gary Terry, the Chair for the American Heart Association, who was largely responsible for having the AED's installed at AUS in the first place.

Here is a synopsis of the story that appeared on our local NBC affilliate in Austin, KXAN Channel 36:

03/27/01 - 8:28 pm
Airport Defibrillators Save Another

Sudden cardiac arrest strikes nearly 1,000 Americans each day. Most victims die before they reach the hospital. The first few minutes are crucial.

That's why there's been a move to put heart-shocking defibrillators in public places like airports. Austin's airport has them. Now the device has saved the man who helped put them there.

As a leader of the Texas Chapter of the American Heart Association, Gary Terry worked to put automated external defibrillators, or AED's, into public places.

"One of the areas that we concentrated on were airports. And Bergstrom was one that we chose put these in -- and certainly, I'm thankful that they did," Former President of the American Heart Association of Texas Gary Terry said.

Little did he know that his work would save his own life.

"I came through. Rushing to catch a flight, after being in Austin working. And started through the metal detectors. When I went to pick my stuff up, I just kept going. There was no symptoms that I had at the time that alerted me to the fact that something was going to happen," Terry said.He had gone into cardiac arrest. Without quick action, he would soon die.

"The primary determinate of survival is the time to successful defibrillation," cardiologist Dr. Joe Gallinghouse said.With the nearby AED, Bystanders were able to restart his heart and save his life.

"Mr. Terry is around today because in part because of his efforts to promote these things," Warren Hassinger with Austin EMS said.

"Any building that has people in it, or work in it or live in it, should have them. It's just common sense that these should be placed everywhere," Terry said.This was the seventh time the AED was used at Austin-Bergstrom. Five of those people survived.

AED's might be installed in state buildings soon. A bill pending in the Texas Senate would have the Department of Health study the idea of putting defibrillators in all state buildings.

Kinda sounds like an episode of Beyond Chance or It's a Miracle