(CBS) — A St. Charles family has begun urging state lawmakers to pass legislation requiring all Illinois high school students to be taught how to use an automatic external defibrillator.
WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports Mary Laman’s daughter, Lauren, died in February 2008, after she collapsed in the cafeteria at St. Charles North High School.
“She loved everybody. She hugged everybody. She loved to dance,” she said.
Lauren, who would have turned 24 on Tuesday, had suffered sudden cardiac arrest while at school, and although an AED was available, no one knew how to use it.
“I just said this can’t happen again. We’ve got to do something to make sure that nobody else has to suffer this because somebody didn’t know what to do,” Mary Laman said.
She said teaching students CPR and the proper use of an AED unit would save lives.
Under the proposed legislation, the instruction would be a prerequisite to graduating high school.
All schools in Illinois must provide AEDs by law, and Laman said instruction should go along with them.
“People are intimidated by it, because it’s a machine, and it shocks people, and they think they can hurt them,” she said. “But if you do nothing, they’ll die, and she died. “
The proposal was introduced to the Illinois House in October, but has yet to be assigned to a committee.