Senior staff hears dramatic defibrillator talk

Dr. Eric S. Nadel '84 gives life-saving training

Photos/Charles A. Radin

Dr. Eric S. Nadel '84 hovers with alarm over the supine form of his friend David Bunis '83.

Dr. Eric S. Nadel '84 (center) goes over the parts of a defibrillator with, from left, Trudy Crosby of the Office of the Provost, Chief of Staff David Bunis '83 and Orla Kane of the Office of the President.

David Bunis ’83, senior vice president and chief of staff, was flat on his back in the trustees’ board room, unmoving. Dr. Eric S. Nadel ’84 of Harvard Medical School loomed over him, yelling excitedly.

“Someone do something! Get up! Why are you all sitting there?” Nadel barked at the handful of senior administration staff members sitting at the conference table.

It took some prodding, but finally a volunteer ran to grab a defibrillator and placed the pads on Bunis’ chest. She turned on the small, lime green machine, one of several placed in strategic locations around campus in recent years. The first thing it said was: “Stay calm.”

Bunis, grinning broadly, got to his feet none the worse for wear and thanked Nadel, a close friend since undergraduate days, for running the training session on how to use defibrillators.

“As my mother would say, ‘God forbid we have to use them,’ we should know what we’re doing to save a life,” Bunis said following his mock cardiac arrest.

Nadel said he began with the dramatic scene to raise everyone’s adrenaline level and to leave an impression they might remember six months or even six years from now, if they are faced with putting the training to use.

In an actual emergency, he said, the scene would unfold similarly to what happened in the board room, with those on the scene confused, unsure what to do and who should do it. Someone – not necessarily the senior person in the room – has to take leadership and quickly, for the most important elements in helping a cardiac arrest victim survive are to send for help swiftly, start CPR and get the defibrillator.

Defibrillators are fool-proof, Nadel said, in that they let inexperienced users know whether a shock is recommended. If it isn’t, the machine will not give the shock. He explained that the purpose of the electric charge that the apparatus administers is to reset electrical currents in the heart, similar to rebooting to cure a computer problem.

Nadel also offered some basic instruction on CPR, which he said is as important as administering the shock.

After the session with senior staff, he met with members of the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps (BEMCo).

In addition to police and BEMCo vehicles, defibrillators are located throughout campus in the following buildings: Lemberg/Sacer/IBS, Hassenfeld Conference Center/Stein, SCC, SSC, Usdan, Heller/Schneider, Mandel/Olin-Sang, Gosman – near main entrance, Gosman-trainer’s room, Gosman-near treadmills/courts, Gosman-Linsey Pool deck, 60 Turner – basement, and now Bernstein Marcus.

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