Wausau paramedics credit technology with saving lives - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau paramedics credit technology with saving lives

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Recent technology is helping Wausau paramedics save more lives.

The city's heart attack survival rate is more than triple the national average.

Paramedics in Wausau have an average response time of about four and a half minutes.

"Any time it took us longer than five minutes to get to scene, no patient survived. All the patients that survived, we had response times of less than five minutes," said Wausau Fire Department EMS Division Chief Josh Finke.

Now, recent technology is also making a dent in the number of heart attack-related deaths.

"Between new protocols, a bunch of new equipment and new training, that's basically what I accredit a lot of it to," said Finke.

The technology is called the Lucas system.

"We're going to lock this in, the patient would be sitting here with his head. This would go directly over the patients heart. At this time, we'd start it up," said Wausau firefighter Quinn Ambrosius, while describing the system.

"This would be continuing at a rate of 100 chest compressions a minute, at a very effective rate and a very good depth. Once this is placed, this would go all the way to the hospital, all the way into the ER room," added Ambrosius.

Firefighters tell Newsline 9 the machine is more effective than just manually giving CPR. They credit the machine with saving 15 lives last year.

"Those are 15 patients that got to return to their husbands and wives or daughters and sons, that's the big impact for us," said Finke.

Nationally, just one in ten people fully survive a heart attack, according to the American Heart Association. For Wausau, that number is one in three.

"We pick out those patients that are surviving and we try to duplicate the results of why they survived," said Finke.

Paramedics said they hope that will push survival rates even higher. Wausau fire officials said grant money helped pay for the new machines.

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