Beaumont, heart group donate AED to library

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published October 9, 2012

HARPER WOODS — Mayor Ken Poynter knows how lucky he was that he had his massive heart attack last spring at just the right time to be saved.

He knows how lucky he was that he wasn’t alone in his home, but at a church where they had an automated external defibrillator.

Now, Beaumont Hospital, which had donated the defibrillator that saved his life, and the American Heart Association have given one to the Harper Woods Library in Poynter’s honor.

“It was a sobering moment to learn of the mayor’s heart condition this spring, and it was great that the library was approached about the AED by Beaumont, given how tight budgets are,” Library Director Dale Parus said in an email, adding that the donation “was a pleasant surprise.”

Poynter’s heart attack happened while community members were gathered at a church for the memorial service for John Bruneel, another longtime committed resident in the city.

As Poynter was getting back on his feet and out in the community last spring during his recovery, he made a comment that he could be “Mr. Defibrillator” because of what happened to him.

“I thank Beaumont for having made that donation … at the church I was at, or else I wouldn’t be here right now,” he said recently.

The heart attack changed Poynter’s life, and he has since been devoted to healthier living through such things as better food choices.

An AED gives an electrical charge to someone who is having a cardiac emergency. It gives users step-by-step vocal instructions, and the machine assesses whether the person needs the electrical shock so that it only administers one if necessary, according to Beaumont.

“The earlier defibrillation is administered, the better chance of survival,” Dr. Georges Ghafari, chief of Cardiovascular Services at Beaumont in Grosse Pointe, stated in a press release. “The use of an AED helps ‘bridge’ the gap between the time a person has a cardiac event, to the time when EMS arrives on the scene.”

Poynter called Beaumont a “committed and devoted community partner” and stated in a press release that “the Harper Woods Library will now be better prepared to handle cardiac emergencies on the spot.”

Harper Woods Library staff attended a recent workshop to learn more about the equipment and assisting someone in cardiac distress, Parus said.

“About half of the staff are interested in going further to receive full CPR certification,” Parus said.