Jim Ritter was in a heated tennis match last fall when he got a second chance on his life thanks to an automated external defibrillator or AED.
The 55-year-old Ritter collapsed on the court and went into cardiac arrest last November while playing at The Daytona Golf Club. Fortunately for Ritter, there was a paramedic nearby playing racquetball who started CPR on Ritter, and the club had an AED on site, recently purchased thanks to an Anoka County grant.
"When you look at it, it was almost like a perfect storm of everything going right," said Ritter.
Portable AEDs have become more accessible to private businesses in recent years as the cost has dropped from $10,000 to between $1,500 - $2,000 today.
According to Dr. Marc Conterato of North Memorial Ambulance, Jim Ritter would not have been able to survive had it not been for the on-site AED.
"CPR can only sustain a person for a set amount of time, you have to get the person's heart restarted," said Conterato. "You should never be afraid to do CPR, never be afraid to do an AED, you can only help a person, you can't hurt them."
When CPR and an AED is used immediately after a cardiac arrest, the chance of survival increases to 85 percent, according to North Memorial officials.
Daytona Club Manager Mark Orwoll ran to get the on-site AED when Jim Ritter collapsed. It was the first time the portable electronic device had been used at the club, and Orwoll knows it was exactly what Ritter needed.
"It basically talked us through the whole thing," said Orwoll. "It's almost dummy proof."
Alexandra Renslo reporting
Wednesday, July 18, 2012