The major contributing factor to the lack of successful patient outcomes in cardiac arrest cases since the inception of KenTenn EMS is the absence of automatic chest compression devices (ACCD) owned by the service. Preforming effective manual chest compressions is exceedingly difficult, even for trained medical professionals. The quality of compressions varies depending on the responder and often deteriorates quickly (within 1-2 minutes). Longer transport times since the closure of the local hospital, along with the lack of available trained volunteers pushed the service to pursue funding for equipment that would radically transform patient care during cardiac arrest events.
FEMA's Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) helps firefighters and emergency medical service organizations acquire critical equipment and other resources that aid in protecting and serving the public. In August this year, KenTenn EMS was awarded $41,719 towards the purchase of two (2) Lucas Automatic Chest Compression Systems, an ACCD that will preform quality CPR to all patients regardless of size, transport conditions or various training levels of different responders.
Wednesday of this week, Clark Sewell with Stryker Emergency Care visited the Fulton ambulance base to train staff on proper use of the equipment. These devices benefit health care providers by providing a safer solution during CPR. While freeing up staff to focus on other lifesaving tasks as the device performs chest compressions, crew members can remain safely seated and buckled in the rear of the ambulance. Furthermore, as the COVID-19 virus is highly transmissible during resuscitation, staff can achieve a safer distance from the patient while CPR is performed.
Studies have proven that continuous, uninterrupted, high quality CPR is the single best means for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival. Manual CPR has limitations, including minimal blood circulation, interruptions to move patients, and rib injuries. In the past, staff have been challenged to perform continuous compressions when moving patients. By utilizing the Lucas device, the delay of chest compressions is drastically reduced as CPR can be performed while the device is placed and continued without interruption throughout transport to the nearest facility.
The service is grateful for the funding provided by AFG and excited to see the impact the equipment will have on patient outcomes. The success of these devices will be measured by the return of spontaneous circulation (ROCS) rates and the amount of individuals who recover and return home to their families and way of life.
The financial support of our communities is needed to continue our efforts of improving patient care. In the next two years, the service will need to acquire two (2) additional Lucas Devices in order to have a device on all four ambulances. If you live within the service area, and are not a member of KenTenn EMS, please read more about our membership program here. Membership is vital to the day-to-day operations of the service, and to purchasing and maintaining equipment, such as the Lucas Devices. To those who have been faithful members of the service, THANK YOU. We look forward to serving you in your time of need.