ALBANY - In a unanimous vote, the New York Senate passed the CPR in Schools bill.
Sponsor Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, called on his colleagues to honor the memory of Madison McCarthy of Evans, who died at the age of 5 because CPR wasn’t started immediately.
"I want to thank Senator Grisanti for sponsoring this bill, for being part of our CPR Rally at the Capitol last week, and for remembering Madison," said Suzy McCarthy, Madison’s mother. "A lot of people – including those of us who lost children to sudden cardiac arrest – have worked hard to pass the CPR in Schools bill. We look forward to working with Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan to pass the bill in the Assembly."
The CPR in Schools bill is in the Assembly Rules Committee. From there, it goes to a vote in the full Assembly. After Assembly approval, the bill will be sent to the governor for his signature.
An updated version of the CPR in Schools bill (A9298/S7096), sponsored by Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D-Long Beach, calls on the Commissioner of the State Education Department and the Board of Regents to determine if CPR and AED instruction should be included in the curriculum for all students prior to graduation.
Last week advocates from throughout state held a rally in Albany to show lawmakers how easy it is to perform CPR. McCarthy was one of them, and was joined by three other mothers who lost children to sudden cardiac arrest - Karen Acompora of Northport, whose son Louis was 14 when he died; Melinda Murray of Queens, whose son Dominic was 17 when he died; and Annette Adamczak of Akron, whose daughter Emily died at the age of 14.
Rhinebeck cardiac arrest survivor, Kaitlin Forbes was featured in a photo gallery at the rally. She was 15 years old in 2005 and suffered sudden cardiac arrest running to first base during a Rhinebeck High School softball game. Bystanders started CPR and a shock from an AED was delivered quickly to revive her.
Her mother, Linda Cotter-Forbes, was grateful for movement on the life-saving legislation.
"CPR is an important skill that everyone should learn. I know that because someone knew CPR, my daughter’s life was saved," she said. Kaitlin Forbes is now 25 years old and a student at Hunter College, "Kids learning CPR in school is going to save lives."
Advocates say that Hands-Only CPR is easy and affordable and 17 other states have already passed laws to teach their students this basic life skill. Hands-Only CPR and the basics of how to use an AED can be taught in as little as one class period at minimal or even no-cost to school districts. Locally, John Jay and Ketcham High Schools both provide CPR training in physical education class.
Nearly 424,000 people suffer out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest each year, and only 10.4% survive.