The South Georgia Medical Center is holding its annual "Love Light Tree" fundraiser. For over a decade the South Georgia Medical Center has a fundraiser in December to provide health-related improvements in the hospital or community. This year they're hoping to buy handheld defibrillators to distribute throughout the community.
These hand held automatic defibrillators can be used to shock a heart back to life. That's why the South Georgia Medical Center wants to help the community to have more of them on hand.
"They're extremely important at the very moment, seconds after someone goes into cardiac arrest or has heart failure. They can be the breaking point between someone's life or death when that happens and if someone could get to a patient who is going into cardiac arrest seconds after or before EMS gets there, they could help save lives.
Health experts report that nationwide, an estimated 350,000 victims die each year from sudden cardiac arrest. To keep that number from growing locally, SGMC hopes to raise enough money from the campaign to buy six defibrillators.
"We sell ornaments for ten dollars or more for a person you loved or just want to honor and we place their name on the tree and hang it for the month of December."
The hospital will place them in areas of high traffic throughout the area like the ones they purchased last year for the colonial mall.
"It's very important to have these just as a safety net in the unlikely event we'd have to use them. There are seven individuals at the mall that are trained to do both CPR and use the AEDs so that's a safe guard we have to prevent any drama at the mall.
The handheld devices cost $2,000 a piece, so the hospital will need at least $12,000 to meet their goal. In past years they have raised $16,000 to $17,000. Hospital officials say they're hopeful that this year will be just as successful, if not more.