ST. CHARLES – Lauren Laman, a former St. Charles North High School student who died in 2008, has inspired a bill that would require Illinois high school students to learn how to use an automatic external defibrillator and administer CPR.
State Rep. Dan Burke, D-Chicago, introduced the bill to the House of Representatives in late October, according the Illinois General Assembly website, and Lauren Laman’s parents are working to get the word out about the proposed high school graduation requirements.
Lauren Laman was 18 when she died after her drill team’s practice at the school, as the Kane County Chronicle reported Feb. 11, 2008. The coroner had said she died from a heart condition.
Her parents, Campton Hills residents George and Mary Laman, said today would have been Lauren Laman’s 24th birthday.
An automatic external defibrillator, or AED, was nearby when Lauren Laman collapsed at the school, said George Laman, who said his family has been pushing for the bill.
“Our daughter passed away, and they did not use the AED, which was her only chance of survival,” he said. “My family decided that we would work together, and in her memory, try to get a law passed requiring training as part of high school requirements for graduation.”
He said Lauren was diagnosed with a mitral valve prolapse, which he said is a common heart condition that’s also known as a heart murmur. George Laman, a former firefighter and paramedic, said AEDs are easy to use and said “time is of the essence” in a cardiac situation.
“An AED has made all the changes in the world because almost anybody can use it,” he said. “It’s very easy to use, and people are protected by Good Samaritan laws. ... That’s the only way people in sudden cardiac arrest are going to live.”
Good Samaritan laws protect individuals who assist a victim during a medical emergency, according to HeartSafe America.