Automatic CPR Device helps save 12 lives in Washington County

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) — The Washington County Ambulance Service started using an automatic CPR device about a year ago. Since then it’s helped them respond to cardiac emergencies in rural parts of the county.

If a patients heart has stopped beating, they need CPR right away until they can be brought to a hospital. That can be a challenge with a two person ambulance crew.

This LUCAS CPR device helps free them up, so they can focus on other ways to help the patient.

30 seconds may not sound like a lot of time, but to the EMT and paramedic crews, 30 seconds could make all of the difference for someone having a cardiac emergency.

“It’s really important to start CPR right away because the more times the heart isn’t beating the more potential you have for brain damage and whatnot,” said Director of Washington Ambulance Service, Richard Young.

In a rural county like Washington, a hospital can be up to 30 minutes away, that’s 30 minutes of precious time.

The device has been used 12 times this year, that’s 12 people who had perfect, uninterrupted CPR compressions. Which is hard to do in the field says Young, “If you’re going down stairs or coming out of a house, you’d have to stop because it’s hard to do compression when you’re going down steps and the persons on an angel…. With that machine, it doesn’t stop. Once you put it on, it keeps going.”

Paramedic, Hunter Alexander has used the device while out on calls. He said it’s crucial for two man teams, “That makes a huge difference out there, instead of one of use doing compression and the other one working the whole time, we have this that takes over. So one of us can push medications and the other one can breathe for them.”

Saving first responders some time, while helping to save patients lives.

Since Washington County is so rural and spread out, each town has a quick response team of volunteers trained in first aid. They can be the first to the scene in towns like Wellman. They are trying to put a grant together to get each team their own LUCAS CPR device.

Safety is also another reason they utilize these devices.

The Cedar Rapids Ambulance Service said this was the main reason they got the devices. This way first responders aren’t preforming CPR in a moving ambulance.

Ashley Neighbor

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids
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