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April 2012    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 38, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Do Water and AEDs Mix?

from the April, 2012 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

After reading last month's article "A Shock to Divers' Hearts" about automated external defibrillators, reader Ken Freedland (St. Louis, MO) had this question for us. "When I was trained in automated external defibrillator (AED) use at the medical research lab where I work, we were taught that it is essential to make sure that the patient is on a dry surface, so that the AED operator and/or bystanders don't get shocked. Is it actually possible to have a dry surface on board a boat when a diver has just been pulled out of the water? What procedures should be followed to ensure that the surface is sufficiently dry to use the AED?"

We had Bret Gilliam, who gave his opinion as a dive expert and maritime captain for the story, offer his advice again. "Ken, you're correct. Ideally, you do want a dry surface and dry patient. That is attainable fairly easily, however. Simply putting a patient down on a towel usually works fine. And a quick wipedown of the chest area to remove actual "standing" water takes only seconds."

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