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Brunswick County EMS implements life-saving CPR devices in every ambulance

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 5:49 PM EDT
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - When it comes to a heart attack, time is not on your side. In fact, the quality of care you receive in those first few moments can be the difference between life and death.

Brunswick County Emergency Services has a fleet of new LUCAS devices, a chest compression system placed on a patient needing CPR.

“The AHA has done this for four, five, six decades and not much has changed statistically on how we’re doing the saves until the mechanical devices came along,” said EMS training coordinator Rich Burns.

The county approved the purchase of 10 new LUCAS Devices last month. Now, they’ve been installed in all of Brunswick County’s ambulances, helping save lives by removing human error.

“It’s consistent every time,” said EMS deputy director Lyle Johnston. “You get the same compression rate, same compression depth whereas with a person, you’ve got the human factor. It could be different. As I do it longer, I get tired, I may slow down, I may not go as deep.”

Burns says the device can do 100 percent of what the heart does while on an EMT’s best day, they’re only capable of about 30 percent. It also frees the hands of EMTs, allowing them to perform other procedures that a patient may need. All of that put together means better chances of survival for the patient, something crucial for the rural areas farther from the nearest hospital.

“Sometimes, to transport in Brunswick County, it can take anywhere from five to 10 minutes depending if we’re going to the local hospital, or up to 45 minutes to an hour,” said Johnston. “If we’re transporting a patient and they were to go back into cardiac arrest, with this device on, it guarantees good, quality CPR in a moving vehicle.”

Quality and accuracy is crucial in a county with a large retirement community presence that experiences cardiac arrests multiple times a week.

“Quite often, we are seeing saves and I’m talking someone who is walking out of the hospital intact and is actually a functional part of society,” said Burns.

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