New medical technologies are changing the way paramedics respond to a health emergency. Automatic external defibrillators have been used by emergency medical services personnel for years. More recently, the CPR assist device called a “thumper,” keeps a heart beating while a patient is transported to the emergency room.
Brian Wood, who heads Lexington’s emergency medical services, says it frees paramedics to do other, life-saving work.
“Anyone doing chest compressions, you get tired, you get worn out, your compressions aren’t as effective. And if you’re not doing effective compressions, you are not circulating blood. These machines, they just keep going right along. They don’t stop, they do an effective chest compression every single time. They don’t get tired. You don’t have to stop to switch out rescuers,” said Wood.
Wood also says this new technology doesn’t diminish the need for CPR training.
“You know, like right now, as soon as the ambulance gets there, we’re still doing manual CPR, until the major gets there and we can apply the Lucas device. You know, if it malfunctions, if the battery goes dead. That’s the good thing about it. You take it off and you can still do manual CPR. You’re still good to go,” added Wood.
Wood says the Lexington Fire Department also has some 76 defibrillators. He says that’s a sufficient number right now. The head of emergency medical services says recent hires also helped to stabilize Lexington’s Fire Division.