The Pennsylvania Senate unanimously approved Aidan’s Law, the bill introduced by state Sen. Dinniman to help ensure all Pennsylvania schools have Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s) on hand in case of sudden cardiac arrest.
The legislation – named in memory of Aidan Silva, the 7-year-old Brandywine Wallace Elementary School student who died on Sept. 4, 2010, from unexplained sudden cardiac arrest – now goes to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for consideration.
Dinniman credited the parents of the late Aidan Silva, Christy Marshall Silva and Steve Silva of East Brandywine, for Wednesday’s key vote.
“As state senator, I was the author and prime sponsor of this legislation. But credit for its passage in the Senate truly goes to the Silvas and their friends, such as Kelly Hagelauer of Uwchlan,” Dinniman said. “Their relentless work for this bill -- in the form of research, creating public awareness, and making numerous phone calls to legislators and staff -- is truly what pushed Aidan’s Law to the finish line in the Senate.
“Aidan’s loved ones have turned their grief into action that will save young lives across the Commonwealth. All that must happen now is for Pennsylvania House members and the governor to throw their support behind Aidan’s Law, and I am confident that they will,” Dinniman said.
If the legislation approved by the Senate becomes law, Pennsylvania will keep a record of AED’s in public and private schools, including their age and condition. To assist schools without AED’s or with outdated AED’s, the Commonwealth will biennially issue an RFP for AED’s, negotiate a bulk-rate price, and then provide them to schools at cost.
To further lessen the cost for school districts, the legislation lets school districts use Pennsylvania Accountability Grants and Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) funds to purchase AED’s . The bill also gives the General Assembly the discretion to annually set aside funds to further assist school districts in purchasing AED’s.
AED’s drastically increase the chances of survival for children and adults who suffer sudden cardiac arrest. The goal when sudden cardiac arrest strikes is to get to an AED and back to the victim within two to three minutes, according to the American Heart Association. It further says that when CPR only is performed on a victim prior to the arrival of EMT’s, there is a less than 5 percent chance of survival. But when an AED is used, the chance of survival jumps to 74 percent or better.
Steve Silva said, “Aidan always looked out for the other kids, even at his young age. While this legislation will not bring Aidan back, it helps to know that his memory is associated with efforts to prevent the loss of another child in Pennsylvania. We are so very grateful to Sen. Dinniman for his support and leadership and to the state Senate officers for theirs as well. Lives will truly be saved if this bill becomes law.”
Dinniman said, “If a student suffers sudden cardiac arrest in school, at an athletic event or at some other school event, there should be an AED nearby to greatly increase their chances of survival. That should be the case regardless of whether they go to a rich school or a poor school, for every child deserves an equal chance for a full and productive life. That’s the aim and goal of Aidan’s Law.”
In the last 15 months, three high school students in Chester County have survived a sudden cardiac arrest because their school had an AED and used it successfully.