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Houston County Courier - Local News

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LUCAS 2 Will Benefit Heart Attack Patients


By Alton Porter
Courier Reporter

Thanks to Houston County Emergency Medical Service's (EMS) parent company for the gift of an automated compression device, the local EMS is now equipped to provide a better quality of service to heart attack patients when they're being transported long distances to hospitals. Lifeguard Ambulance Service presented a LUCAS 2 automated compression (chest pump) device to Houston County EMS in the wake of Timberlands Healthcare's closing on June 30, making it necessary for emergency medical technicians to transport patients longer distances by ambulance or helicopter to hospitals for medical treatment. The device is used to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to patients who are in cardiac arrest or at high risk for that condition, according to Houston County EMS Chief Heath Bumpous. It is precise and provides 100 chest compressions (chest pumps) per minute and runs for more than an hour before its battery needs to be changed. "We got the LUCAS 2 as kind of a response to the hospital closing," Bumpous explained. "This takes fatigue out of our first responders, and it also increases the availability of our resources because we're not taking people out of the county on cardiac arrest." He said Houston County EMS actually received the device Sept. 1. "The good thing with this is this device will automatically do CPR for us," said Bumpous. "A battery will last more than an hour, plenty of time for us to go to (a hospital in) Palestine if it was a cardiac arrest. "And it's also adaptive in the fact that, with this device, if we have a cardiac arrest and we get the patient back, which is called ROSC (return of spontaneous circulation), the device is compact enough to fit on our helicopter as well. "So, we've been doing some training with the air crews on loading a patient with this, really to make sure that we're still providing the best patient care possible to the community." Bumpous said he led in-service training for Crockett Fire Department firefighters and Crockett Police Department officers on the device Thursday, Sept. 7. He added his EMS unit also has reached out to the Lovelady Volunteer Fire Department and other area volunteer fire departments, offering training on the device to them "to make sure everybody's comfortable with it and knows what it's use and purpose is. It 's just a very unique piece of equipment and we're lucky that we got it." Bumpous said Lifeguard Ambulance Service re-allocated the device to Houston County EMS from another EMS in Florida. "We got this because now, on a cardiac arrest, typically from the loop (Loop 304), it's about 34.6 miles to Palestine Regional (hospital). "That's a long time to be doing CPR on somebody. So, this (device) definitely frees our hands up and keeps our first responders where we need them in Houston County." He said Houston County EMS typically receives three or four cardiac arrest calls a month. However one month this past year they responded to six such emergency calls. Bumpous added, "The biggest thing with this is whenever we do CPR, the number one thing that can cause poor outcome on cardiac arrest calls is if there are only two of us and we don't have any first responders, we become fatigued. "That's especially so when we're in the back of the ambulance by ourselves and we're trying to do everything else plus CPR for 30 to 35 minutes going to Palestine. Well, this device was created to eliminate fatigue. "This machine doesn't get tired and it lets you know in plenty of time before it quits working. It will tell you, 'We need to swap the batteries out.' We keep a second battery and charger with us just in case we need them. "It works great! We've enjoyed using it and I think it will fit in well here. We're super excited and we think it will be good for the community. "It will improve patient care. It allows us to physically focus on what caused the event that we're there for – what caused the cardiac arrest. And it allows us to focus on treating the things that we can treat to make things better, hopefully to where we can correct it." Lieutenant Jacob King of Houston County EMS said, "It will help employees because trying to do compressions while trying to stand up and bend over for so long in the back of a moving ambulance (is difficult). I think it will help prevent any kind of workrelated injuries."


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