Paramedics Using Hands-Free CPR

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

It's known as "The Thumper."

Put simply: "It does CPR compressions for us," Assistant Fire Chief at Delhi Township Fire Department Brian Ball said.

The machine is called Lucas 2. Its force can break your sternum, but if you're in cardiac arrest, it can also save your life.

"We've definitely seen at least a 50 percent increase of getting pulses back on an individual, which is incredible," said Brett Justice, a firefighter and paramedic in Delhi Township.

Paramedics said hooking a patient up to the Lucas 2 is easy, and cuts down on call times. A board is placed under a person's shoulder blades, then the entire device just clicks in over the armpits. Then, a paramedic hits the start button, what they like to call the "Play" button.

"It starts out gradually, it gets a feel for the person, and then it starts the compressions," Ball said.

The compressions are so precise and consistent, preliminary studies find Lucas 2 is actually more effective than manual CPR. The Delta Township Fire Department has only had the device for a few months. They said there was a learning curve, but they like the results.

"It's more efficient than a human really is," said Steve Funk, a firefighter and paramedic for Delta Township. "Humans tire, the machine doesn't. Batteries run out, but you can plug it in and you can keep going."

Manual CPR is still always administered right away, but once the Lucas 2 is in place, it means there's an extra set of hands to help with medicine and learn about the patient.

"Working a cardiac arrest is a lot of detective work, and if we can figure out something that we might have missed in the history, and that person can figure it out, it can really help in the treatment," Ball said.

Plus, the fire departments can get a second ambulance out much quicker.

"That's what we're here to do, to serve the citizens, and we take a lot of pride in that, so, this machine is just one more tool in our toolbox to give our citizens the best quality of what they expect," Ball said.

Both Delhi and Delta Township Fire Departments are hosting open houses Thursday, Oct. 18. The Lucas 2's will be on display.


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