Step 4 – Get Medical Direction

If you’re lucky, a physician will be a member of your committee from day one. More likely, you will have to obtain a medical director after much of the ground work has been laid. Medical directors perform a variety of functions. They will want to be informed in the event that the AED is used in an actual rescue. They may wish to review the data stored in the AED during the rescue.

Medical directors may also provide:

  • Information about which model of AED they would suggest for your application;
  • Answers to questions about how AEDs work and why they are important
  • A specific protocol that they wish to have the AED follow (most AEDs provide three analysis-shock cycles, followed by one minute of CPR, followed by three more analysis-shock cycles followed by another minute of CPR and so on. AEDs can be adjusted to other protocols recommended by your medical director).

The physician is also going to recommend that some nationally (or state) recognized training program is followed in teaching the use of the AED and that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in checking and maintaining the AED. The more involved the physician is, the more confident you can be that you are implementing a sound program.

How to Find a Physician

If your agency has a physician on retainer, this is a good place to start your search for a medical director. Other likely candidates are Emergency Room physicians from the local hospital, cardiologists, and family practitioners. All of these medical experts are probably well versed on the value of PAD programs. Perhaps they won’t know the relative merits of the newest AEDs, but that isn’t as important as their willingness to be a resource to you.

Continue to Step 5