Medical Director Needed For AED Program

Most AEDs require prescription

The Importance of Medical Direction

Medical directors perform a variety of important functions. A medical director:

  • Writes the prescription. While the FDA has approved one AED for purchase over-the-counter, an AED is usually available only with a prescription from a medical doctor.

  • Informed In Event Of Use. If the AED is used in an actual rescue, the medical director may wish to review the data stored in the AED;

  • Helps Identify AED For Purchase. The physician may be able to help in the AED selection process by providing information about which model AED is the most appropriate for your circumstances and answers questions about how AEDs work and why they are important;

  • Develops Rescue Protocol. The physician should participate in the development of the protocol rescuers will follow in using the AED; and

  • Supervise Training. The physician who writes your prescription is likely to demand that rescuers receive appropriate CPR and AEDs training.

Medical Directors: Where To Look

In selecting a medical director, an AED program administrator should look for a physician who is willing to serve as a teacher, advisor, and champion of the program, and is able to commit her time to helping her community. The more involved the physician is, the more confident you can be that you are implementing a sound program.

Here's where to look for a medical director:

  • If you're lucky, a physician will be a member of your committee from day one. More likely, you will have to obtain a medical director after much of the ground work has been laid.

  • If your club, school, or organization has a physician on retainer, this is a good place to start looking.

  • Other possible choices:

    • An Emergency Room physician at the local hospital

    • A cardiologists; and

    • A family practitioner or internist.

  • All of these medical experts are probably well versed on the value of PAD programs. They may not know the relative merits of the newest AEDs, but that isn't as important as their willingness to be a resource to you.