NORTH ROYALTON – North Royalton residents, meet LUCAS, the fire department’s newest, lifesaving recruit.

Thanks to a donation from University Hospitals, the fire station is the proud new owner of this cutting edge medical device that is said to not only make pre-hospital patient care during cardiac arrests much more effective, but will also improve the safety of paramedics.

Dr. Sheldon Rose, ER physician at UH Parma Medical Center and EMS medical director for this region, and Joe Toth, UH’s EMS manager, presented the city with the device, valued at $14,000, at the June 2 meeting. The city has budgeted for a second LUCAS.

“We will have one on each of our frontline squads,” Fire Chief Bob Chegan said. “With the updated protocol, this will provide the best possible service to our residents and is another tool we will use on every cardiac arrest. The days of throwing someone in the back of a squad and driving off are gone. CPR is difficult when you are being thrown around in the back of a squad. It’s important chest compressions are done consistently. Consistency improves efficiency and the chance of survival. This will provide the best service available to our residents.”

LUCAS is a chest compressor system that automatically preforms perfect CPR chest compression on patients, freeing up medical personnel to concentrate on other lifesaving measures such as ventilation, defibrillation and medication.

CPR requires an intense amount of exertion. Add a speeding ambulance and a bumpy ride, and it can get downright difficult and tricky in the back of a squad, but it’s what firemen have been accustomed to all these years. LUCAS standardizes the process and never tires.

According to LUCAS-CPR.com, LUCAS provides the same quality for all patients and over time, independent of transport conditions, rescuer fatigue or variability in the experience level of the caregiver. Experimental studies show that the mechanically-controlled compressions are able to sustain a higher blood flow to the brain and heart compared to manual compressions.

“We have been waiting for this,” Fireman Mike Kovello, North Royalton’s EMS coordinator, said while admiring LUCAS.

“Perfect CPR compressions gives patients the best chance for survival, along with advanced intervention,” Safety Director Bruce Campbell said.

Dr. Rose said this piece of equipment truly is incredible.

“It will provide safety for the provider, and it’s hands free so the provider can start an IV and push medications. And part of CPR is not just the pushing down, but expanding the chest. The suction cup provides some suction to really expand the chest,” Rose said.

The hospital wants to do all it can to ensure what is being done in the field mirrors what is done in the hospital.

“One of the things we do is not only provide equipment, but also make sure what the guys do in the field, mirrors what we do,” he said.

Council President Larry Antoskiewicz asked if LUCAS is able to be used again immediately after assisting a patient. The answer is yes. The battery has more than a six-hour life and LUCAS comes with spare batteries just in case.

Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw, who chairs the safety committee, said this is another development that is the result of the city’s solid partnership with University Hospitals Parma Medical Center.

“I am a strong supporter of giving our safety forces that latest technology to help them when out in the field,” he said. “This device will help save residents’ lives here in North Royalton. I thank University Hospitals for this excellent piece of technology.”

Steve Muller, vice chair of safety, said it’s a great item to have.

“Hopefully it will help with any emergency call requiring chest compressions to be completed. It sounds like it really benefits the patients and the crew too,” he said. “It’s definitely a nice thing to receive from our partnership and relationship with University Hospitals.”

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