Orange County Emergency Services has added five Stryker LUCAS-3 Chest Compression Systems to provide for safer and higher quality response to emergency calls that require Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
“Cardiac arrest resuscitation is a team effort,” said Kim Woodward, Orange County EMS Operations Manager. “This team is made up of law enforcement, fire and EMS providers and requires our highest level of response. In non-pandemic conditions there are often greater than 10 providers participating in the resuscitation.”
Woodward said personnel administering chest compressions must alternate every two minutes in order to provide high quality CPR. CPR compression devices, once applied, remove the need to utilize personnel for compressions and continue to provide high quality, consistent compression throughout the remainder of the resuscitation. In addition, the device makes transporting the patient, if necessary, a much safer endeavor.
Healthcare workers are the highest at-risk profession for contracting COVID-19, Woodward said. This risk is compounded by worldwide shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Resuscitations carry added risk to healthcare workers for many reasons. The administration of CPR involves performing numerous aerosol-generating procedures, including chest compressions, positive pressure ventilation, and establishment of an advanced airway. During those procedures, viral particles can remain suspended in the air with a half-life of approximately 1 hour and be inhaled by those nearby.
Resuscitation efforts require numerous providers to work in close proximity to one another and the patient. Finally, these are high-stress emergent events in which the immediate needs of the patient requiring resuscitation may result in lapses in infection-control practices.
Orange County began investigating automatic chest compression devices after learning that volunteer fire department personnel could be performing CPR with limited PPE resources for over 20 minutes. Orange County purchased two devices last year and deployed the devices on the EMS Supervisor’s vehicles.
“We were extremely fortunate to have these devices as the threat from COVID 19 emerged,” said Orange County Emergency Services Director Kirby Saunders. “In the COVID 19 environment, supervisors were responding to more calls than ever before, and there were more times when both supervisors were on calls simultaneously. Thankfully, Emergency Services was able to purchase five additional LUCAS devices through the CARES Act.”
Field Training Officer Jeff Toler led the Lucas Procurement Project for Orange County Emergency Services. Toler was inspired to pursue a career in Emergency Services by his father, who dedicated his life to volunteer EMS. Bobby Toler died from COVID complications in February.
“This was a well-executed project from start to finish and we couldn’t be prouder of his team that came together and made it all happen,” said Saunders. “Being able to complete this task was not just a mission to Jeff, it was a true gift that made his best friend and mentor, his father, most proud. The Orange County Emergency Services Lucas Devices are dedicated in the Memory of Bobby Toler.”