The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

December 31, 2008

New health laws go in effect

DANVILLE — Five new health laws will take effect Jan. 1, 2009, in Illinois.

--Women’s Heart Disease Awareness Month in Feb.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. House Bill 5596, sponsored by state Rep. Elizabeth Coulson and state Sen. Pamela Althoff, designates the month of February as Women’s Heart Disease Awareness Month in an effort to increase awareness of the cardiovascular risks women face.

Jenny Trimmell, director of community health services for the Vermilion County Health Department, described this law as “a good thing.

“Women take care of everyone else, but they’re not so good at taking care of themselves,” Trimmell said. “Women’s symptoms of heart disease typically are not the same as those for men. They need to be aware of the heart issues particular to them, to pay attention to these, to be alert.”

--Rashidi Wheeler law.

House Bill 1279, sponsored by state Rep. Daniel Burke and state Sen. Martin Sandoval, requires outdoor physical fitness and sports facilities to have an automated external defibrillator on site.

This bill, known as the R.A.W. Initiative, was named after Northwestern University football player Rashidi Wheeler. He died during practice in 2001. After a review of the incident, it was determined that an on-site automated external defibrillator could have saved Wheeler’s life.

Troy Dunn, Provena Regional EMS Training Center coordinator, has medical oversight over the automated external defibrillator sites in this area. Both the Danville Family YMCA and Curves have recently benefited from his expertise.

“I train the trainers,” Dunn said.

The state already had a law that governed indoor athletic sites, he said, and required automated external defibrillator as well as people who know how to use them. Dunn said this new law will save even more lives.

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