CMU's Pulse3 Endowment committed to living, learning and lifesaving

Shocks and Saves Hockey Game raises funds for AED devices in our region

| Author: Kelly Belcher | Media Contact: Kelly Belcher

On April 27, 2023, community member Ed Coates was performing at an event in Midland.  After his set, he put his instrument in his car and suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.  Ed was with his family, including his son-in-law Dr. Toby Long, who assisted EMT’s in their response efforts.  Ed’s wife Cindy was on site when paramedics used an AED on her husband and felt tremendous relief when, after three shocks, she heard them say “we’ve got a heartbeat!”

Ed knows how very lucky he is.  “The likelihood of survival if you have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital is very low, less than 10%,” he said.  “Having the paramedics respond within seconds or minutes was very impactful.  I am alive because of the first aid rescue using the AED.”

Every year in the US, more than 300,000 people suffer from a sudden cardiac arrest and the ability to survive is dependent upon the capability of the community to respond.  When someone is having sudden cardiac rest, the time to defibrillation is critically important.  For every minute that a person is in cardiac arrest, they lose 10% survivability; by 10 minutes their chance for survival is dismal.  The first link in the chain of survival is the bystander; community members caring for one another. 

“There are wonderful paramedics, physicians and nurses in our community who render great care, but they can’t be everywhere,” said Steven Vance, M.D, executive director of Pulse3 Endowment and associate dean of Clinical Education at CMU College of Medicine. “The key to getting defibrillation in those first 10 minutes is to make AEDs available for bystander use.”

One of the main initiatives of the Pulse3 Endowment is to make Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) available throughout the region by putting them in places where the people are – locations like schools, churches, athletic venues, movie theaters, airports and other local businesses.  There has been a tremendous response to these efforts.  Since the beginning of the initiative, these devices have saved a number of lives in our communities.  As a result of Pulse3’s work, the survival rates to hospitalization became the greatest in the state.

The Pulse3 Foundation was formed in 2013 when the Michigan Cardiovascular Institute Foundation shifted its focus toward community outreach and increased impact on cardiovascular wellness in the Great Lakes Bay Region.  The idea behind Pulse3 is the power of three.  This is reflected in the mission of living, learning and lifesaving as well as in the tri-city service area of Saginaw, Midland and Bay City.  Additionally, the average person has 3 billion heartbeats in their lifetime, making the power of three even more relevant to the efforts of improving cardiovascular health.

In 2022, the CMU College of Medicine accepted oversight of the organization as the Pulse3 Endowment and pledged to continue the mission of living, learning and lifesaving while supporting medical education and improving heart health in our community.

The Shocks and Saves Hockey Game continues to be Pusle3’s signature event.  The concept originated in a meeting between Peter Fattal, M.D. a cardiologist with Ascension Riverfront Cardiology and Jiri Fischer, a former Red Wings hockey player who had survived a sudden cardiac arrest while playing a televised hockey game in 2005.  They wanted to develop an event to raise awareness and funds to improve cardiovascular health and to provide the tools necessary for community members to respond to sudden cardiac arrest.  Shocks and Saves features Red Wings Hockey Alumni facing off on the ice against local health ;care professionals.  Proceeds from this event go toward AEDs and heart health education. 

Since its inception, Shocks and Saves has raised over $1 million and placed 350 AEDs throughout the region, leading to 14 lives saved.  This year’s game took place on January 27, 2024, and raised over $60,000 to support the purchase of AEDs for our community.  We are so grateful to all the players and attendees who made this event such a success!