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Minneapolis Postal Workers Protest For AEDs

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two years ago Thursday, a postal worker named Art Tilson died at the Minneapolis Post Office Distribution Center. His friends believe his life could have been saved if there had been an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in the building.

As they did last year on the first anniversary of Tilson’s death, several of his co-workers demonstrated outside the post office.

This year, the postal workers were joined by members of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survivors Network. They also believe the Post Office should have at least one AED in the building.

After Art Tilson’s death in this building in 2009, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community offered AEDs to the Distribution Center — at no cost. However, the post office says if this building got AEDs, they would have to be supplied to 900 other Post Offices in the district.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Greg Danner, one of Tilson’s friends. “We’re trying to get our Senators and Congress people involved, because we think if they would be willing to apply a little bit of pressure, maybe we could have this accomplished by now. “

A spokesperson for the post office said there are more than 60 first aid and CPR certified volunteers on staff here. Some survivors of sudden cardiac arrest say CPR alone is not enough, however.

“Sudden Cardiac Arrest is an electrical problem,” said Natasha Fleischman, who is a cardiac arrest survivor. “So, it’s when the heart starts beating chaotically, so that no blood gets pumped out to the rest of the body, and you die within minutes.”

The post office issued a statement Thursday saying, “We have sent a request for assessment of two proposals for a pilot AED program at the Minneapolis Processing & Distribution Center.”

However, protestors said they are frustrated that two years have gone by and there are still no AEDs here.

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