The Mercy Health Foundation Lourdes has donated 10 AEDs (automated external defibrillators) to the McCracken County Sheriff’s Department. The approximately $10,000 in funding came from the foundation’s Sr. Kathy Green Fund, which was established for community outreach initiatives.

An AED is a portable electronic device that automatically diagnoses potentially life-threatening heart rhythms and uses electrical pulses to the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm. With an AED, the operator applies electrode pads to a victim’s chest. The unit analyses the patient's condition and uses spoken prompts to instruct the user. The pads allow the AED to examine the electrical output from the heart and determine if the patient is in a shockable rhythm. If a shock is warranted, the AED will use the battery to charge its internal capacitor in preparation to deliver the shock.

“We saw an opportunity to help protect the safety and well-being of our McCracken community members while at the same time meeting Mercy Health’s mission,” said President of the Mercy Health Foundation Lourdes Jessica Toren. “This was a need and one we are pleased to be able to meet.”

Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital ER physician Brett Bechtel, M.D., said the AED donation will be an asset during emergency situations. “Many times the sheriff’s department is the first on the scene in the rural part of our county,’ he said. “The potentially life-saving benefits of having AEDs in the hands of first responders cannot be overstated.” Mercy Regional EMS is working with the sheriff’s department to provide AED training to the department’s members.

“I am very grateful the sheriff’s office has been afforded the opportunity to expand on the services we provide to this community,” said Sheriff Matt Carter. “We will have these AEDs assigned to each shift, with the goal being to have them available to deploy in the event of an emergency 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Deputies are constantly mobile throughout McCracken County. Having this added equipment and technology available, I know it will increase the chances of saving a life.”    

To donate or for more information on Mercy Health Foundation Lourdes, call (270) 444-2353 or visit