Human touch helps lifesaving advances

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Fire officials in Kentwood showed off their newest lifesaving device Monday. The LUCAS CPR machine provides chest compressions while freeing up first responders for other tasks.

Tuesday, it was put to a real-life test, and it passed when Kentwood firefighters were called to help a patient whose heart had stopped, possibly the result of an overdose. Both LUCAS and the drug Narcan were used.

“With CPR and ventilation and everything working, it got the drug through the system and it kicked things in,” Kentwood Deputy Fire Chief Gregg Ginebaugh said.

But long before emergency responders arrived and put advanced machines and drugs to use, the lifesaving work began. The 911 caller was instructed by dispatchers on how to start CPR.

“They’ve managed to teach somebody over the phone what to do to help that person,” Ginebaugh said.

That early intervention is crucial to the success of advances, like the chest compression machine.

“I don’t want to be lost in this wonderful new device that we purchased, because it takes everything else to work out for that device to assist you,” said Ginebaugh about the human factor vital to saving lives.

It was also the third life saved this week by Narcan.

The Barry County Sheriff’s Department says two people — one in Hastings and one in Nashville — were saved when deputies administered Naloxone, the other name for Narcan, to overdose patients.

Unfortunately, the people at the Red Project, the Grand Rapids-based nonprofit that promotes risk reduction, say most overdose patients and those around them don’t want to call 911 and for obvious reasons.

So the Red Project has gone a step beyond training first responders in the drug’s use. They are also training the general public, including family members and the homeless, to administer the drugs. And they’re saving lives.



Red Project

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