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C Redelsteiner. Cardiac Arrest Survivor Reunion. The Internet Journal of Rescue and Disaster Medicine. 1999 Volume 2 Number 1.
Once a year a traditional Viennese Restaurant “Heuriger” has very special guests. It is not occupied by Japanese or American Tourists which made a long trip to enjoy Viennese Hospitality - it is occupied by people who took a very special trip to a different kind of existence.
Luck, a couraged bystander, a defibrillator that could be accessed quickly, a fast and well trained EMS team, the cooling procedure in Vienna University hospital, the professional care of nurses and doctors or the combination of those factors assured that this unique trip to the hospital was only short term.
These very special guest are the survivors of a full cardiac arrest. Fritz Sterz, MD and professor in the University Clinic for Emergency Medicine invites these very special people once a year, together with his coworkers, medical students and EMS providers. The very casual setting is a nice reunion and a way to exchange provider and patient experiences.
About 200 people attend this event, more than 100 of them are people that celebrate two birthdays per year. Some of the have already their one defibrillator at home and they and their relatives are trained to use them in the case that should never happen again.
This great idea should be copied elsewhere! It is a great drug against medical provider burn-out and shows very lively that it is possible to successfully resuscitate patients. Such an event should be a mandatory appointment for administrators, insurance companies and people who think that defibrillation and public access defibrillation programs are not worth to pursue.
The enclosed picture shows a survivor demonstrating his defibrillator to other patients. With them on the table are the EMS and ER Crews.