Olivia Hoff
Memorial website in the memory of your loved one
Her legacy
Defibrillators approved for local high schools  

Defibrillators approved for local high schools

It took years of speaking before local school boards before she finally got results, but Corinne Ruiz never gave up.

Monday night, the Kern High School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to place automated external defibrillators, known as AEDs, on all its campuses.

"Tonight is such good news. It was a long time coming," said the 60-year-old mother.

An AED is a portable device that treats sudden cardiac arrest. It sends an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm.

This was a personal issue for Ruiz. Her daughter Olivia was 14 years old when she suffered sudden cardiac arrest and died nearly nine years ago. Ruiz said she made a promise back then that she would devote her time to get AEDs in schools.

She did it in memory of Olivia.

In November, Centennial High School student Caleb Hannink suffered sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed during his physical education class. Despite a quick response by emergency personnel, Hannink died. Centennial did not have an AED on campus.

"This is huge for the community," said Mike Lencioni, captain with the Bakersfield Fire Department.

Lencioni is part of a team that will train Kern High School District personnel in the use of an AED.

Up to now, not a single school district in Kern County has been willing to place the devices in all its school sites. Ruiz believes districts are afraid of being liable should something go wrong during the application of an AED by school personnel.

"Schools have to be prepared for a cardiac emergency, and to do that, they need to have an AED program," said Ruiz.

Olivia's Memory Lives on  

April 22, 2004, Olivia was taken off life support and became my Angel in Heaven.

My daughter was an organ donor. On April 27, 2004, a 4-month old girl in Maryland was the recipient of Olivia's right cornea and a 29-year old man in Texas received the left cornea.

Olivia's heart valves were normal. Her heart valves were implanted into a 2-year old boy August, 2004.

Olivia's gift gave three people a chance at a better life.

Monday, August 23 2010, an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) was donated to Rosedale Middle School in Memory of Olivia. The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association made this generous donation possible. I will continue my work and be Olivia's voice, her death will not be in vain. Through me, Olivia will save lives.

“Some people only dream of angels but I’ve held an angel, Olivia, in my arms.”

I am a member of The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association Parent Heart Watch SADS Foundation and the American Heart Association. I became an active member soon after my daughter's death.

Each year in the United States 350000 Americans die suddenly and unexpectedly due to cardiac arrhythmias; 3976 of them are young people under age 35. Without immediate treatment from a defibrillator 80% of SCA victims will die.

As of today one state on the West Coast is going to mandate AED's in schools Oregon. Why? Because they understand the need to do everything possible to mitigate the risk of death from the leading (yet most preventable) cause of death in America.

We, the parents who have lost children to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, ask why not California?

Liability - No the new updated version of the Good Samaritan law currently in the legislature addresses that.

One is The California Good Samaritan Act.

On any given weekday 20% of our population are on school campuses. Over 350000 people die each year from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) and a little over 3000 people per year die from fire. This means we are 100 times more likely to need an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) than a fire extinguisher. Yet we have laws and building codes requiring fire extinguishers and NOTHING for AED's.

We are hard at work pushing the Senate to approve the Josh Miller Hearts Act which would provide a pool of grant money for school districts to use to purchase AED's. If this passes it would make mandating AED's in California easier because it would offset a large portion of the start-up costs. 

Most of our local schools do not have an AED on campus. For every minute that passes without defibrillation a victim's chance of survival decreases 10%. On average it takes EMS teams 6 to 12 minutes to arrive at an emergency scene. Not all rescues involving an AED are successful but when they are deployed widely and used quickly survival rates of 50% or greater have been reported a far cry from 2% to 5% survival rates from using CPR alone.

If you would like additonal information about Sudden Cardiac Arrest and how you can save young lives, please view the following websites: 

Olivia's Heart Project www.oliviasheartproject.org

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association www.suddencardiacarrest.org 

AED Alliance, Inc. www.AEDAlliance.org

Via Heart Project www.viaheartproject.org

Parent Watch www.parentheartwatch.org

The SADS Foundation www.sads.org


"Working Together, We Will Keep Young Hearts Beating!

If you have any material to add to this section, please contact the website manager. If you are the website manager, you can enter edit mode to upload material by clicking here.