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Foundation grant enables purchase of automated CPR machine
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Foundation grant enables purchase of automated CPR machine

By Jessica Pickens on July 16, 2019

Since he was a little boy watching the 1970s TV show “Emergency,” Eric Harold wanted to be an emergency medical worker.

“For me, it's truly a calling,” he said. “I just enjoy helping people.”

As director of Union County EMS, Harold is excited about any technology that can benefit people in emergency situations. That's why he's interested in a machine that performs CPR in the field – and he can buy it now, thanks to a $19,000 Spartanburg Regional Foundation grant.

“We are very thankful – this is hopefully going to make a tremendous difference,” Harold said.

The LUCAS Chest Compression System is a battery-operated, automated machine providing consistent, uninterrupted CPR for patients who have suffered cardiac arrest. Unlike a person, LUCAS doesn't tire or lose focus.

“Science has shown that a person doing CPR for more than two minutes at a time becomes fatigued and then doesn't do it as effectively,” Harold said.

Also, interruptions in CPR can occur when a patient has to be moved down a flight of stairs or from a building to an ambulance. When the patient is in an ambulance, there may be bumpy roads and curves to contend with – this, too, can make it more difficult for the person giving CPR.

The LUCAS device fits around the patient's body and is secure in transit.

Union County is mostly rural, and its EMS department must cover more than 500 square miles. Travel times from the site of an emergency to Union Medical Center or other healthcare facilities can be lengthy. The LUCAS system will be helpful in these situations.

Union County EMS was among 34 Spartanburg Regional Foundation grant recipients in 2019.

LUCAS is an acronym for Lund University of Cardiopulmonary Assist System.

Harold hopes to have the machine ready for use by September.

In 2018, a Foundation grant supported the purchase of a LUCAS device for Spartanburg County EMS.

“In advanced cardiac care, it's agreed upon that the most important thing for cardiac arrest is good and consistent CPR – and this delivers that, without question,” said Rodney McAbee, operations manager for Spartanburg County EMS.

Union County EMS hosts celebrations to recognize cardiac arrest survivors and the emergency workers who helped save their lives, Harold said.

Harold hopes there will be more saved lives to celebrate because of the LUCAS system and the Spartanburg Regional Foundation grant that made buying it possible.

Learn more about the Spartanburg Regional Foundation grants program.