Scripps is raising awareness of sudden cardiac arrest in young people through sponsorship of the Eric Paredes Save a Life Foundation. Volunteers from Scripps, including physicians and nurses, screen students throughout San Diego County.
Rhina Paredes, a registered nurse at Scripps, and her husband, Hector, created the foundation when their athletic 15-year-old son, Eric, passed away from sudden cardiac arrest in 2009. Turning their tragedy into an opportunity, the Paredes established the organization to prevent sudden cardiac arrest in school-age children and adolescents. One of its priorities is providing free cardiac screenings to San Diego student-athletes and making automated external defibrillators available in schools. Their vision is that eventually teens will receive cardiac screenings with their annual medical examinations and that automated external defibrillators will be required at middle and high schools.
Since its first screening in 2010, the foundation has provided local schools with 20 electrocardiogram machines, three echocardiograms and two automatic external defibrillators. To date, more than 3,200 San Diego high school students have been screened, and more than 60 students were identified with heart anomalies – 31 who were at risk of sudden cardiac arrest and three who required heart procedures.
In 2012, the foundation expects to provide up to 4,000 screenings to high school students and grant matching funds to schools for purchase of automatic external defibrillators.