L I T T L E   I T A L Y
N E I G H B O R S   A S S O C I A T I O N   ( L I N A )

f e b r u a r y   b u l l e t i n

library for soho, noho & little italy
Kathryn Freed has done it, securing extra money from the City Council to operate a library serving Noho, Soho & Little Italy. Freed has several spaces in mind, and plans to negotiate with the landlords of all the spaces.

defibrillators in little italy
The CB2 Public Safety committee has begun their project of placing donated defibrillators in the downtown community, and has asked L I N A for help in placement for Little Italy. This is a very important project. Just a month ago, a young wife of a CB2 member had a heart attack without knowing it, but got to a hospital and was saved by a defibrillator. THESE MACHINES SAVE LIVES.

Because we have congested streets & few emergency facilities nearby, these machines would be used by community volunteers as a first response to a heart attack emergency until medical teams can arrive.

Diane Dreyfus, a L I N A Steering Committee Member, has volunteered to be the L I N A contact person to work with St. Vincent's & help set up teams for two defibrillators in Little Italy. Her e-mail is d_dreyfus@msn.com. Anyone who is interested can contact her or the website or Suzanne Williamson. If you have ideas or names for Volunteer Outreach, please contact Diane.

Below are Diane's minutes of the organizing meeting. Thanks, SW for L I N A. Read if you are interested:


LINA will need six volunteers for its Defibrillator Team. Preliminary requirements: adults who are willing and able to take a four hour course and be on call to bring the defibrillator to victims and apply if, as, or when necessary.

Below are meeting minutes with details. Please feel free to give feedback regarding team logistics, the best placement of the machines, or any other ideas about this important public health project. Thanks.

8FEB00 - 6:00 pm Spellman Conference Room - main floor

Meeting was chaired by Dr. Christopher Freyberg. Alan Gerson former chair of CB2 and responsible for getting this project started, also spoke. There were two health care professionals, one a doctor, whose name I did not get, and Rosita Ortiz, R.N., from First Chinese Presbyterian Community Affairs (Broome & Sixth Ave). Ms. Ortiz is a supervisory nurse attached to their home health care office. Including my self, there were 6 people from interested groups. Note: there were at least two groups not attending; so, there will probably be another meeting.

Dr. Freyberg and Mr. Gerson went over some issues before demonstrating the Defibrillator. CB2: The Community Board has arranged for public funding for up to ten defibrillators to be distributed throughout CB2, through the efforts of the Borough President's office and particularly Margharita Lopez. (The cost is approx $2,500-3,000 per defibrillator subject to change by the manufacturers.)

To coordinate the effort, CB2 formed a joint steering committee with St. Vincent's Emergency Department represented by Doctors Christopher Freyberg and Richard Westfal.

Dr. Freyberg and Mr. Gerson discussed the "criteria" for a neighborhood group to participate. To assure the minimum number of responders, 6 people will constitute a team - one person would schedule the group and equipment such as keys, cell phones/beepers/walkie talkies, etc., the rest of the team would back each other up covering any "catchments" area (to be defined). If there were too many organizations wanting the machines for their neighborhood, the organization with the most volunteers would be given the most consideration. The Heartsavers-AED (CPR with Defibrillation) training program is 4 hours and is good for 2 years.

Dr. Freyberg stressed that the defibrillator volunteers are not replacing 911. People should still call 911, first. I inquired if 911 could be programmed to call volunteers and suggested that walkie talkies could be very useful in our neighborhood because they can both broadcast and coordinate and they are easily dedicated and after original purchase, cheaper than phones.

According to Dr. Freyberg, the 1984 "Good Samaritan law" was amended in Albany to accommodate volunteers handling defibrillators. Under the "Good Samaritan Amendment" the use of these portable defibrillators are to be used strictly on a volunteer basis (and not for any directly related reimbursement as a "paid employee," i.e., "paid employees" will "volunteer" to provide this additional service). Originally, only doctors could use the machine, but, as the technology kept improving, Nurses were certified; followed by EMS / Police / Fire personnel, who have been specially trained. Volunteers are now being considered for this kind of service because the defibrillator can make a difference -- a person in cardiac arrest is technically dead without some intervention. In cardiac arrest, there is a high chance of survival if there is an intervention.

Survival rate for Sudden Cardiac Arrest is dependent on TIME TO DEFIBRILLATION, so that the longer it takes to defibrillate, the less percentage survival is to be expected (Doctors anticipate a 60 percent survival rate if it takes 2 minutes, 40 percent if it takes 4 minutes, 20 percent at 6 minutes - there can be a lot of variables in these stats).

Dr. Freyberg listed the four links in the chain of survival:

  • EARLY ACCESS - calling 911 immediately
  • EARLY CPR - chest massage and mouth to mouth resuscitation (There is evidentially a lot of resistance to doing resuscitation on strangers and Dr. Freyberg wondered if that is why the survival rate is lower in New York than in Seattle.)
  • EARLY DEFIBRILLATION - response time is critical and it can take 12-16 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
  • EARLY CARE - get the patient to the hospital.

The Defibrillator weighs about nine pounds and a third again as big as a laptop. It has two graphically illustrated pads that that attach to the chest and abdomen and a power chord that connects to the machine. The machine has a robotic voice and commands the operator to stand clear, administer the shock or start CPR. It is not at all complicated. What could be complicated is knowing when to use it. But it will not administer a shock unless there is no heartbeat for a given time. It is, in other words, automatic. If it is needed it will trigger itself but somebody has to bring it.

The population that will benefit the most from this machine is people over fifty.

According to the survey of the St. Vincents' catchment survival rate is between 1.4-2.1 percent, mostly due to elapsed response time. The horizontal impediments, i.e. traffic, are great and we also have vertical -- walk up -- time to consider.

cleveland place
The club, Jet 19, at 270 Lafayette below Spring Street, has left the neighborhood under pressure. The owners of Mexican Radio have taken over the lease from Jet 19, and are applying for a new license or a transfer later in February. We'll find out which. They have also met with the residents of Cleveland Place, who would welcome a real restaurant instead of a noisy, fake club, like Jet 19. This is a big Cleveland Place victory because by suing the NY SLA, and relentlessly filing legitimate complaints with city agencies, they got Jet 19 to leave. HOWEVER, L I N A needs to hear from Cleveland Place & remind them that they may want to get an agreement with Mexican Radio, and should come to the CB2 & SLA meetings to keep up their profile.

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