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Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital Donates Lifesaving Medical Equipment to Henderson Junior High School
12/15/2008

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital, soon to be Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, has donated an automated external defibrillator (AED) to Henderson Junior High School. The donation is part of “Gift from the Heart,” a community benefit program designed to save young lives by providing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to state-designated low-income schools.

AED donation

HMEC President Christopher Leu presented the AED to (from left) Greg Hardcastle, junior athletic coordinator at Henderson Junior High School, Joan Pope, R.N., school nurse, and Bob Cervetto, principal.

Texas Health, one of the largest faith-based, non-profit health care systems in the United States, is donating the 51 AEDs to secondary schools located near its hospitals, which span eight counties. The donation comes as the company unites its longstanding community hospitals — Presbyterian, Harris Methodist and Arlington Memorial — under Texas Health Resources, the system brand.

“In keeping with our non-profit mission to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve, we could think of no better way to share the coming of a new brand than to give back to our schools,” said Douglas D. Hawthorne, FACHE, CEO of Texas Health. “Our hope is that this gift will increase the chance of survival for students, faculty, and visitors who may suffer sudden cardiac arrest while at school or attending campus activities.”

Starting Jan. 1, Texas Health’s hospitals will become Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Harris Methodist and Texas Health Arlington Memorial. Last month, the Stephenville hospital received new exterior signs marking the beginning of the transition.

“This is an exciting time for Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital and we are thrilled to be able to give back to the community,” said Christopher Leu, hospital president. “While the hospital name is changing Jan. 1 our commitment to caring for the patients of Erath County and the surrounding counties remains unchanged.”

More than 250,000 Americans of all ages die each year from sudden cardiac arrest, about 7,000 of them children and teens. An AED, about the size of a lunchbox, is a device that shocks the heart to restore a normal heartbeat. It is the single most effective treatment for restarting the heart after sudden cardiac arrest.

“Gift from the Heart” is one of many community benefit initiatives undertaken by Texas Health, which spends more than $450 million annually — the equivalent of more than $1 million a day — in charity care and community benefit.

“We are grateful to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville for this generous donation,” said Bob Cervetto, principal at Henderson Junior High School. “The presence of these AEDs will add another level of safety for everyone attending or visiting our school.”

AEDs are designed to allow people with no medical training to respond to cardiac emergencies by giving a life-saving shock to restore the heart to its normal rhythm. The machines give detailed instructions and analyze the heart rate to determine whether a shock is needed.

For every minute that passes between cardiac arrest and defibrillation, a person’s chance of survival decreases up to 10 percent, according to the American Heart Association. Schools are required by law to have an AED available at all University Interscholastic League athletic practices and competitions. The presence of additional, strategically placed AEDs can reduce the time it takes to retrieve the life-saving devices.

Texas Health also is providing training on how to operate the devices to help people at each school feel confident about responding to an emergency.

“Studies show that when AEDs are placed in public areas and are used quickly, then survival can be 50 to 75 percent or even greater,” Leu said. “The hospital and school are both integral parts of the community and this donation was just a natural extension of our relationship with the school.”

About Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital
Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital, soon to be Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville, is a 98-bed acute care, full-service facility serving Erath and surrounding counties since 1926. The hospital's services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, women and infant care, advanced diagnostic imaging, inpatient and outpatient physical therapy and wound care. Harris Methodist Erath County Hospital has been recognized as a Nurse-Friendly Hospital and a Level IV Trauma Center. For more information, please call 1-888-4-HARRIS, or visit www.texashealth.org/hmec.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR’s system of 13 hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System, and a medical research organization. THR is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit www.texashealth.org.

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