On Saturday, April 9, the Sussex County Paramedics sponsored the 2016 Phoenix Awards at the Roxana Volunteer Fire Company. The Phoenix Awards are given to first-responders who were integral in providing emergency care to someone who was in cardiac arrest and lived to tell about it. The ceremony is designed to reunite survivors with his or her responders in a celebration of life.
In all, 11 members of the Millville Volunteer Fire Company were honored at the ceremony for their participation in saving someone’s life. For the survivors who were able to be in attendance, there were plenty of hugs and handshakes being exchanged, since this was the first time the individuals have seen each other since the day of the rescue.
“The Millville Volunteer Fire Company is very fortunate to have a Lucas device placed on each one of its ambulances since January 2015,” noted MVFC PIO Bob Powell. “This was a direct result of business owners and the citizens we serve stepping up to the plate to assist in the purchase of these devices.”
The Millville VFC members recognized for their life-saving efforts were: Stephen Gilbert, Dillon Baker, John Watson, Brian McConlogue, Aaron Driscoll, Marissa Carmello, Robert Richardson, Madeline McGrath, Doug Scott, Richie Walls and Nick Harrington.
The Lucas CPR Device is a device used to assist in giving quality compressions to “sudden cardiac arrest” patients. In order to be able to save the lives of sudden cardiac arrest patients and avoid neurological damage, a steady supply of oxygen to the heart and brain is necessitated. Life-sustaining circulation can be created through effective and uninterrupted chest compressions.
“Performing manual chest compressions of high quality is both difficult and tiring, and impossible in certain situations,” Powell noted. “The quality varies depending on who provides CPR and deteriorates quickly after only one or two minutes. The Lucas Chest Compression System is a safe and efficient tool that standardizes chest compressions in accordance with the latest scientific guidelines. It provides the same quality for all patients over time, independent of transport conditions, rescuer fatigue, or variability in the experience level of the caregiver. By doing this, it frees up rescuers to focus on other life-saving tasks and creates new rescue opportunities.”
Experimental studies, he said, show that the mechanically controlled Lucas compressions are able to sustain a higher blood flow to the brain and heart compared to manual compressions. The side-effects are similar to manual compressions. Lucas does compressions according to guidelines — on the middle of the chest, not more, not less, said Powell.
In 2015, the Millville Volunteer Fire Company responded to 15 cardiac arrests. Out of the 15 cardiac arrests, five of the patients had already died, and no resuscitation efforts were given. The 10 remaining patients all received resuscitation efforts, and the Lucas Device was applied. Five of those patients had a positive outcome and were able to walk out of the hospital and return to their families.
“The citizens of our community should be proud of the dedication that is given to our community. One of the cardiac arrest patients received care from an Ocean View police officer and was given a shock by the AED the Ocean View police carry in their cars,” Powell said. “We work very closely with Ocean View Police Department, and they can be seen at many of the calls that we respond to.
“Once again, the Millville Volunteer Fire Company is very thankful to the citizens and business owners that donated hard-earned money to assist the fire company in the purchase of three Lucas devices,” Powell said. “This goes to show how important community involvement and donations assist the fire company every day in saving the lives of our citizens.
The biggest donor for the Lucas device project was the Atlantic Community Thrift Shop (ACTS), which purchased one of the three Lucas devices, for $15,000
“These devices have assisted in touching the lives of so many. The MVFC thanks every business and individual who helped in the purchase of these very valuable life-saving devices.”