Tue, Oct 30, 2007
Acting Administrator Sturgell Considering Policy Change
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is hopeful the
Federal Aviation Administration will allow devices used to help
heart attack victims in air traffic facilities, according to the
Akron Beacon Journal.
Defibrillators can restore a heartbeat by applying a brief
electric shock to a heart attack victim.
Acting FAA Administrator Robert Sturgell is considering changing
the policy, according to FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory.
"No final decision has been made," Cory said Monday. "We are
still reviewing the matter. What we are doing right now is trying
to determine the cost to buy and install the defibrillators, and
train personnel, for all the air traffic facilities, and we're also
looking at liability issues."
Management at the Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center
asked to move a portable defibrillator from a nearby medical
trailer into the facility two months ago, and was denied due to a
policy not allowing it, according to NATCA representative Melissa
A medical trailer near the site is closed on nights and
weekends, and is only open sporadically during the week. "If
someone has a heart attack while the trailer is open, time would be
lost retrieving the device," the Journal quotes Ott as saying.
FAA officials said there is no time frame for the agency to
complete its research.
NATCA has pushed to have defibrillators in traffic control
centers since controller John Sanfelippo died of a heart attack at
a center in Houston in 2005.
The controller's union openly opposed Sturgell's nomination as
the Administrator on October 23.
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