Family Pushes for Awareness After Son Dies of Cardiac Arrest

Serious heart events are uncommon among young people, but if one happens, you maybe wondering if your child's school prepared to handle it. One Orange County family whose son died of sudden cardiac arrest is now working to raise awareness about AEDs, and save lives in the process. 

It's been six months since Kevin Hogate died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest in his college dorm room. His parents are struggling with the inconceivable loss, and what they miss most about their oldest son.

"He had a good bear hug," his mother Kate said.

His college roommate called 911 and his friends started CPR, but there was no automated external defibrillator, called an AED, in their dorm.

"It would have given him a chance. That's what you're hopeful for, is you just want to give somebody a chance that they might be able to make it," his mom said.

With minimal training, anyone can operate a defibrillator.

The number of AEDs on school campuses in Southern California varies widely from district to district. See this interactive map below. Note: This is a sampling of Southern California districts and not a comprehensive list.

Two years ago, Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana had six of them on campus when a student went down in the weight room.

"She actually went down onto the ground. It was actually one of our athletes who recognized something was going on," Mike Fernandez, the school's athletic trainer, said. "They called 911, began CPR, and security rushed one of the AEDs to the weight room."

The company sent back a note saying the actions of our staff saved the girl's life.

The private Catholic high school now has 10 AEDs on campus. All coaches plus faculty are trained, as well as some students.

"You can see countless stories where an AED was utilized and able to save a child's life," Fernandez said. "We put them in places where most of the activities on campus take place."

But what about public schools? Data obtained by the I-Team shows some states require AEDs in both public and private schools.

In California however, the equipment is only recommended, and efforts in recent years to make them mandatory -- legally -- have failed.

Hogate graduated from Mater Dei High. His younger siblings still go to the school. Which is why the Hogates wanted to advocate for broader use and awareness of AEDs on this campus that's made them so accessible.

"It's not going to save everybody out there, but if it's going to save half the people, why wouldn't you want to have that present?" his mom said.

The Hogates will never forget their talented, kind son, who left his mark with volunteer projects and his artwork, from designing shoes to his own logo that his parents now always wear.

They hope sharing their loss might just save someone else's son or daughter.

The Hogates also want people to understand the importance of having proper documents in place once your children turn 18 to give you access to their medical records. You can read that story here.

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