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EMS now using automated chest compression system



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September 11, 2013 - Groveland Twp.- Last month the township EMS became the first in Oakland County to put into service the LUCAS II Chest Compression System.

The new system will provide uninterrupted compressions at a regular rate and depth for resuscitation. The machine delivers automated compressions when EMS arrives and continues in the ambulance transport and throughout the hospital.

The $13,000 device features a rechargeable battery powered unit and can be taken directly to the patient without the need for a compressed air supply used in other similar systems. The LUCAS can then pump the chest for up to 45 minutes, saving paramedics time and much needed energy once the patient is revived and rushed to the hospital.

"One of the drawbacks to performing CPR is it's physically demanding on the individual doing it," said Township Capt. Jamie Barach, firefighter /EMS coordinator. "After about two minutes anyone will tire—we just don't have the manpower to continue the compressions. In addition, drugs just are not as effective as CPR. The LUCAS II compresses the chest about 2 1/2 inches and keeps the blood circulating."

Barach said that often CPR given by an individual will be hampered by the location.

"When we arrive a patient may be in a confined space that makes performing CPR difficult," she said. "They will have to be transported through narrow doorways or from a vehicle without interruption. Sometimes it's almost impossible to be in a position where compressions can continue. With the LUCAS II it's continual regardless of where the patient is—we need to be the best pump to you at that time. Keeping the blood pumping to the brain and organs is the very best for the victim."

The township EMS average response time to a call is 4 minutes, 10 seconds, reported Steve McGee, fire chief.

"The data on life saved with using the machine is not yet known, but it's the best we have right now."

Two LUCAS II units are operational in Genesee County.

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