Families face frustration as bill aimed at saving students' lives stalls

BOSTON — They’re compact, easy to use and proven to save lives, but there's something parents might be shocked to know about automated external defibrillators -- or AEDs.

“There's still about 300 schools in the state of Massachusetts that don't have one,” John Elsessar explained to FOX25.

John Elsessar is one of a group of parents who have been working for years to get a bill passed requiring AEDs in all Massachusetts schools.

They’ve gotten very close to finally getting it done. But in the waning days of the legislative session, things are suddenly not looking so good.

“If it doesn't hit the Governor's desk by Jan. 3, we're out of business, we got to start all over again,” John Elsessar said.

The bill is hung up on a discrepancy in compliance dates and the clock keeps ticking.

“They all say that they're for it. I just really want them to show me that they're for it,” said Luann Elsessar.

John and his wife, Luann, have two deeply personal reasons for getting the bill on the books, both of their sons died of cardiac issues.

Mike collapsed on the football field in his final JV game.

“There was no AED, no ambulance at the field. And it took 15 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. Needless to say, Mike passed on the field,” John Elsessar said.

Their youngest son, Timothy, died last year while swimming.

“I don't want anyone to have to live through what we live through every day,” said Luann Elsessar.

In the final days of 2016, the backers of Senate Bill 2449 are living through frustration.

“It's lives that we're losing and it's just sitting there,” supporter Grace Soultanian said.

“There's an athlete dying every three days in this country because of sudden cardiac arrest,” Luann Elsessar said.

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