LAKE GENEVA (WKOW) -- Mercy Health System is donating hands-free CPR machines to seven Walworth County fire departments affiliated with its hospital in Lake Geneva.
Mercy Health System's EMS Medical Director, Jay MacNeal, said the machines are safer and more efficient than relying on medics to manually perform the chest compressions needed for CPR.
MacNeal said medics often fatigue after performing a series of chest compressions, which can lead to inconsistency. The machine is mechanical and consistent, MacNeal said.
MacNeal also said the machines, which are strapped onto patients, can continue to perform compressions while a patient is being transported through narrow doorways or up flights of stairs.
"For this device to be able to do the CPR for us while we're doing the carrying and working with the stretcher is going to be just a huge benefit to our department," said Village of Fontana Fire Chief Wolfgang Nitsch. The Village of Fontana's department is one of the seven fire departments receiving a Lucas machine.
MacNeal said avoiding pauses in CPR during the transport of a patient can save lives.
"That 30 seconds might be the difference between not being able to successfully defibrillate a patient," MacNeal said.
The Lucas machines also can "free up an extra set of hands," MacNeal said."In the back of an ambulance, you might only have two providers," MacNeal said. "So if one of them is doing CPR, you just lost half your crew."
MacNeal said using the Lucas machines to perform chest compressions means the medic who would have been responsible for performing CPR can administer medicine, begin an IV or even just speak to the patient's family.MacNeal said the machines, which cost $15-thousand each, should be in use in six to eight weeks.
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