New device makes a difference for paramedics

North Ambulance paramedic Kevin Novotny, director at the North Ambulance Princeton region, and fellow paramedic Joshua Zak demonstrate on a mannequin how the Lucas II automatic chest compression machine and the LIFEPACK 15 heart monitoring device work. The two paramedics were giving the demonstration last Friday at the North Ambulance garage about a mile north of the city of Princeton.

North Ambulance paramedic Kevin Novotny, director at the North Ambulance Princeton region, and fellow paramedic Joshua Zak demonstrate on a mannequin how the Lucas II automatic chest compression machine and the LIFEPACK 15 heart monitoring device work. The two paramedics were giving the demonstration last Friday at the North Ambulance garage about a mile north of the city of Princeton.

By Joel Stottrup
Union-Eagle Reporter

A relatively new device that paramedics on the North Ambulance ground crews are using in North Ambulance’s Princeton region to revive stopped hearts “is making a difference.”

That is according to Kevin Novotny, who became the new manager of the North Ambulance service in the Princeton region last August.

The principal new device that Novotny was talking about is manufactured in Sweden and goes by the trademark name, LUCAS II Chest Compression System. When Novotny and fellow paramedic Joshua Zak were recently demonstrating the LUCAS II on a mannequin at the North Ambulance garage just north of Princeton, they also had a LIFEPACK 15 heart monitoring machine hooked up. The North Ambulance paramedics use the LUCAS II and the LIFEPACK 15 together when trying to get a heart going again, Novotny explained.

North Ambulance’s operation in the Princeton region has three LUCAS IIs and four LIFEPACK 15s so that a pair of the two devices can be placed in each of the region’s three rolling ambulances coming out of the ambulance garages in Princeton, Milaca and Zimmerman.

Novotny was not yet able to provide any figures to elaborate on how the LUCAS II has been “making a difference.” He said that North Ambulance still needs more time for that.

But Novotny was able to get North Ambulance quality resources specialist Matt Hill on the phone to help round out the “making a difference” statement.

Hill says that North Ambulance is collecting data on the devices when paramedics are using them to respond to cardiac arrest patients. According to that data, the North Ambulance paramedics used the LUCAS II and LIFEPACK 15 devices 140 times in the Princeton region last year. The devices were used five times just in Princeton during the last half of 2012, Hill said.

Hill went on how the collected data shows very detailed information, such as the rate at which the chest compressions are made. His department then provides a summary of that for the crew members to review. It tells them what they “did good on the call and what they did good but could have done better,” Hill said.

The big advantage of the LUCAS II device is that it can make the chest compressions uninterrupted to deliver the desired standard of 100 compressions per minute, Hill said.

For the full story, see the Thursday, March 21 print edition of the Times.

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