A medical device that is less than ten years old is credited with saving 16 lives in Nebraska over the past year.
It is called LUCAS2 and performs chest compressions instead of a person doing traditional CPR.
Otoe County Sheriff’s Deputy Greg Kotschwar says emergency responders used it on him last Halloween.
“My condition on October 31, 2015, has been described as unresponsive,” Kotschwar told reporters at a news conference. “Quite frankly, I was dead. My heart had stopped beating and I was no longer breathing.”
The device was in use for about 30 minutes before the ambulance with Kotschwar arrived at CHI Health St. Mary’s in Nebraska City.
Dr. Jonathan Stelling was in the E.R. that day. It would be the first time he saw the device in use outside of training.
“It seemed a lot less confused than normal, because you don’t have to say, OK, who’s going to switch, who’s going to take over, ready – switch!” Stelling recalled. “You can just let the device continue to function. So, we were almost sitting there, going ‘This is very less stressful.’”
The state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports 16 lives have been saved with the LUCAS2 units, since they were purchase last year with grant money.
“The idea of transporting a patient who’s in cardiac arrest 20, 30, sometimes 45 minutes – very difficult situation to provide high-quality CPR,” Dr. Eric Ernest, statewide EMS medical director said.
He equates the LUCAS2 device to having an extra person in the ambulance performing CPR.
DHHS will buy 425 units over three years thanks to a $6 million, three year grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust.