To think that an institution the size and caliber of the University of Miami would not take up every safety and health-related precaution to protect its students, faculty and administrators is almost unthinkable.
Especially with a former secretary of Health and Human Services as president.
Earlier this year, Jackie Gonzalez, an administrator in the School of Communication, collapsed during a staff meeting. No one was able to resuscitate her in a timely manner, as no one in the general vicinity knew CPR. Gonzalez passed away six days later.
Though no one can say whether Gonzalez’s death could have been prevented with a defibrillator nearby, and the university is definitely not at fault, it would have been nice to know that everything was done that could have been done.
The university has already looked into purchasing Automated External Defibrillators (AED) for several buildings on campus, including the residential colleges, dining halls and classroom buildings. Still, it’s hard to look at the installation as a bold initiative when the university is required to do this because of a city ordinance, which went into effect Aug. 17.
What also must be considered is that this is a Coral Gables ordinance, so the university is not obligated to place AEDs at the Miller or Rosenstiel campuses. The university does not plan on installing AEDs at the Rosenstiel marine science campus. People could have heart attacks anywhere, so why not prepare for this?
While multiple other institutions including businesses and restaurants have AEDs and trained staff to perform CPR, the university only started to look into campus-wide defibrillators this year, and it does not plan to complete installation until February. It seems like UM is a bit behind the times since the first successful defibrillation without a physician was performed in 1969.
On the university’s behalf, officials are taking a step in the right direction, and they are listening to Student Government recommendations to lower the cost of CPR classes. Also, defibrillators are expensive, costing an average of $2,300 each according to the American Red Cross Web site.
Still, money should not be an issue when it comes to the health of faculty and staff. Maybe we should cut a few palm trees from the budget.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.