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Md. bill requires schools to plan for cardiac arrest emergencies


Patrice Bullock, left, demonstrates Hands-only CPR to Del. Jessica Feldmark, during a demonstration in Annapolis March 7. Feldmark was the lead sponsor of The Bailey Bullock Act, named after Patrice’s late son, requiring cardiac emergency action plans in all public and nonpublic schools. Bailey, 16, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and died outside his school after track practice in May 2021. He did not receive CPR for several minutes after he collapsed.

American Heart Association

By Tony Roberts
Baltimore Sun

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A bill passed by both houses of the General Assembly that will require schools to be prepared to handle cardiac emergencies is named for a Bel Air teen who died of cardiac arrest outside his school in 2021.

The Bailey Bullock Act, approved Monday by the Maryland Senate in the final hours of the 2024 session, will require every public and private school in Maryland to create a cardiac emergency response plan.

“Maryland lawmakers have taken a tremendous step toward protecting students, teachers, parents – anyone who spends time on school grounds – by passing the Bailey Bullock Act,” Laura Hale, the American Heart Association’s Maryland director of Government Affairs, said in a news release.

The bill, which would take effect July 1 after getting Gov. Wes Moore’s signature, requires each school to identify appropriate personnel as the cardiac emergency response team to respond to sudden cardiac arrest or a similar life-threatening emergency while at an athletic facility and coordinate with first responders to help with local emergency response protocols.

“For the last three years, I have been working tremendously hard to honor my son, Bailey, in a way that cements his memory,” Patrice Bullock, mother of Bailey Bullock, said in an emailed statement. The passing of the Bailey Bullock Act signifies a significant advancement in school health and safety protocols that I could not be more proud to have been a part of. The support I have received from the Harford County community and beyond in the last three years has been overwhelming, and I am forever grateful.”

Bullock, 16, had a cardiac emergency and collapsed outside the John Carroll School in May 2021 while he was waiting for his sister to pick him up after track practice.

He was unresponsive and being treated by bystanders and school staff when emergency personnel from the Bel Air police and fire departments arrived, according to a news release from the Town of Bel Air at the time.

The sophomore had a heart condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. According to the Mayo Clinic, WPW is a syndrome in which an extra electrical pathway in the heart causes a rapid heartbeat. Symptoms also can include dizziness and lightheadedness.

With more than 23,000 children suffering cardiac arrest annually and nearly 40% occurring in conjunction with sports-related activities, the American Heart Association emphasizes that CPR, if performed immediately, can double or triple the chance of survival.

Since her son’s passing, Bullock has conducted CPR demonstrations on behalf of the American Heart Association in Maryland and plans to continue to advocate for sudden cardiac awareness in schools and development of emergency plans.

“When Bailey went into cardiac arrest at his school, CPR was delayed for 8 minutes or more and he did not have a positive outcome,” Bullock said in a news release. “That’s an event I never want another parent, another mother, to experience. With the passage of the Bailey Bullock Act by the state legislature today, we’re a step closer to making that a reality.”

The bill was introduced after Sen. Benjamin Brooks, a Baltimore County Democrat, learned that one of his constituents suffered a similar situation a few years ago, and he learned more about their prevalence, Brooks said in a phone interview.

Prior to introducing the bill, Brooks worked with the American Heart Association to develop guidelines for the legislation. With support from Bullock and many others, it was a smooth process for the bill to be approved.

“This is something that is needed, so we had to put everything behind it,” Brooks said.

Del. Jessica Feldmark, representing Howard and Baltimore counties, also was a sponsor of the legislation.

On the state level, the Bailey Bullock Act should not materially influence state operations or finances, but on the local level school systems may have minimal administrative and training costs under the bill.

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