Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Life-saving device goes into service in New Holland
BY CAROLE DECK, Correspondent
Saving lives is something the New Holland Ambulance Association takes seriously.
The group's efforts to provide extraordinary medical service to the community received a boost on Jan. 16 when the state-of-the-art LUCAS Chest Compression System was put into service.
"New Holland stands out as the first BLS (basic life support) ambulance agency in Pennsylvania to receive approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to carry the cutting-edge technology," said Dr. Michael Reihart, regional medical director with the Emergency Health Services Federation Inc. in New Cumberland.
Reihart, also on staff at Lancaster General Hospital Emergency Department, commended the eastern Lancaster County association for working tirelessly to complete the lengthy, complicated administrative process necessary to acquire approval.
The LUCAS System, Reihart said, delivers automated, consistent, uninterrupted automated chest compressions at the rate of 100 per minute to deliver vital oxygen to the brain during a cardiac arrest. And that increases a patient's chance for a successful outcome.
Studies show, he said, that manual chest compressions can drop rapidly, even after a minute, due to responder fatigue.
"The need for extra staff to assist with cardiac arrest calls due to the difficulty maintaining compressions is eliminated with the battery-powered system," said Darrell Fisher, emergency medical service chief at New Holland Ambulance Association.
Compressions can continue, he said, as patients are carried down stairs, through hallways or in any transport conditions. The device also enables providers to stay safely seat belted during transport to the hospital.
Thanks to financial support from the local community, the ambulance association was able to purchase a LUCAS System for two of its three ambulances at a cost of $13,000 each.
New Holland American Legion Post 662, at 35 S. Hoover Ave., provided the entire funding for one system.
"The New Holland Legion welcomes the opportunity to contribute to community organizations and felt this was an excellent cause," said Bill Park, vice commander and president of the American Legion Home Association.
Donations from two New Holland companies -- Berk-Tek and Case New Holland -- plus funding from 2013 memberships helped to pay for the second one.
Fisher said all 30 of the ambulance service's active members and three full-time employees have been trained on the new system.
One volunteer -- emergency medical technician Keith Snowberger, who is also a paramedic at Lancaster EMS -- expressed confidence that there will be more cardiac arrest survivors in the future due to the new technology and training.
"We're a family of volunteers who care and want to provide the best care possible to our community and surrounding area," Fisher said.
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