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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bill Seeks to Teach Every Student in Minnesota How To Perform CPR

March 29, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A young woman who survived a cardiac arrest is urging lawmakers to pass a bill which would require all students in Minnesota to receive training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation before graduation.

At age 18, Jamie LaLonde collapsed while at work at the Mall of America.

"Nobody around me knew how to do CPR, knew what to do when somebody collapses, and I was lucky enough that a mall security guard came very quickly, within five minutes, and started doing CPR. I just think that it's super important. People should know how to save somebody if they need to."

LaLonde was in a coma for two days but fully recovered and is attending college, hoping to become a paramedic.

The proposed legislation, drafted by the American Heart Association, would require all Minnesota high schoolers to take one 30-minute class.

A co-author of the bill, state Rep. Bob Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, was a health and physical-education teacher for more than 30 years and taught many students how to perform CPR. He says this requirement would save lives.

"It's a great opportunity for the state of Minnesota to bring CPR training into the schools and go out in the communities - and you have well-trained people, especially young people. They know they have the skills, so if something does come up - they could be out with their dad hunting, or parents or a neighbor of somebody who might need CPR, and you've got people who are trained and confident."

Dettmer says the bill has the support of many colleagues. For those legislators still on the fence about the requirement, LaLonde notes that heart issues don't just affect the elderly.

"It happens to young kids too, and if it was their son or daughter, wouldn't they want somebody around that knew CPR and knew what to do and help increase the chances of saving them?"

Studies show that bystander CPR can double or triple survival rates from cardiac arrest. More than 20 percent of all deaths in Minnesota are linked to heart disease.

Details of H.F. 2329 (S.F. 1908) are online at

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN

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