A heart races, then stops | January 25, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Cover Story - January 25, 2013

A heart races, then stops

Menlo Park businessman credits quick action, AED for saving his life

John Carrington's heart raced at more than 300 beats per minute — then stopped while he was on a conference call in 2006 in his General Electric office in Pittsfield, Mass.

The next thing the then-40-year-old businessman knew, he was in a hospital in New York City under the care of specialists.

"Fortunately, at the GE offices we had an AED (automatic external defibrillator) in the building, and they rushed that to me," Carrington, who now lives in Menlo Park, said.

Although it took 13 minutes for paramedics to arrive, Carrington's chief technology officer, trained in resuscitation, had come to his aid immediately.

"They eventually hit me three times — the heart would start and stop, start and stop," he said.

"I know these machines save lives."

Carrington credits the AED and GE's quick response in getting him to the right hospital for saving his life.

"I compliment (GE CEO) Jeff Immelt because they did put more of these devices in after my occurrence, and I know they've been used and saved lives." (AEDs are among the products offered by GE Healthcare.)

After he recovered, Carrington sent an email to 13,000 GE managers urging them to secure AEDs for their offices and plant sites. He's received notes back indicating the defibrillators were installed — and successfully used.

"We all hear the story of a high school cheerleader or football player who drops dead at school. A state like California that's pretty progressive should be embracing this with some sort of public support."

Carrington, now CEO of the Santa Clara-based thin-film solar company MiaSole, said he has the portable defibrillators at his site, "and there's no doubt we'll continue, at any plant site we'd open, to put them in.

"People get gun-shy on the liability piece, but when I've seen how these machines operate it's very, very clear and straightforward how to use them.

"I assure you, had I died after four or five shocks, my wife would have said, 'Well, they did what they could.'"

— Chris Kenrick


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


Save $5 when you register by Monday, July 24

Registration is now open for the 33rd annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and Walk. This family-friendly event which benefits local nonprofits serving kids and families will take place on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Palo Alto Baylands.

Register Here