Ottawa family succeeds in getting AED's in public elementary schools
Published Tuesday, October 17, 2017 4:55PM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, October 17, 2017 6:41PM EDT
All English public elementary schools in Ottawa will soon be equipped with defibrillators.
The move comes too late for one Ottawa family but fulfills their mission in memory of their son.
It's been only 8 months since 8 year old Griffin Martin collapsed at his Orleans school and died. The pain for the Martin family is still raw; but finally today, news that some good will come from their son's death.
It was a bitter February day, when Griffin Martin collapsed during recess at his elementary school in Orleans. His heart had stopped. The school didn't have a defibrillator. This otherwise healthy, vibrant little boy was gone. He was just 8 years old.
“His friends thought joking around and became clear that he wasn't,” says his father Damien Martin, “His teachers started CPR and called 911 but there was nothing they could do at that point.”
Since his death, Griffin's parents have been on a mission to make sure AED's, or automated external defibrillators, are in every single public school in Ottawa.
“It would have been a whole different process of grieving this situation if we had known everything that could have been done for him had been done,” says Martin.
High schools in Ottawa have had defibrillators for many years. So, too have many public places like shopping malls.
All Catholic elementary schools in Ottawa have been equipped with the machines but the Ottawa Carleton District School Board has them in only 41 of its 119 elementary schools. That's about to change.
Jennifer Adams is the Director of Education for OCDSB, “We wanted to work closely with that family. We know they have suffered a huge loss with the loss of their son and we've worked with them and will continue on in the other schools.”
The plan is to have this life-saving technology in every English public school by September of 2018, at a cost of about $1500 to $2000 per unit.
It's unclear whether an AED would have saved Griffin. Sadly it's an answer the Martins may never get. But there is solace in knowing that perhaps another family won't have to go through the torment they have endured.
“Until you know what feels like to have a child die,” says Damien Martin, “it's not something you would want anyone ever to go through if it can be avoided.”
As part of the family's fundraising efforts, Griffin's school, Orleans Wood Elementary, unveiled its new AED just a couple of weeks ago.