Dr. Peimer said the machine should be in every remote hospital as it is an exceptionally good tool in the case of cardiac arrest (Caitlin Thompson photo)

Community helps purchase new CPR machine

The Bella Coola Hospital is the proud new owner of a brand-new Lucas 3 chest compression system.

Thanks to a community effort and some consistent lobbying by local staff, the Bella Coola Hospital is the proud new owner of a brand-new Lucas 3 chest compression system. Affectionately coined “Lucas III” by local nurse Pat Lenci, the machine delivers high-performance, continuous chest compressions with less strain, micromanagement, and risk for the caregivers. The machine essentially replaces a person continually delivering CPR, which in turn frees up more hands to focus on the patient.

“The most important part of any intervention during a cardiac arrest is CPR,” said Bella Coola Medical Clinic Director Dr. Jeff Peimer. “It’s exhausting to do, most people can go for two to four minutes and when you’re done your arms are finished. If you have a machine that does it in a standardized way then you have more free hands.”

Peimer explained that usage of the machine can free up a minimum of two people who are then able to focus on other tasks associated with the patient such as IV lines, administration of medication, and other procedures.

“I believe this should be in every remote hospital because of staff number limitations,” said Peimer.

The purchase of the machine, which cost $16,000, was the result of a coordinated effort between VCH, the Bella Coola HealthCare Auxiliary, and private donations.

“The need for this machine was really highlighted through COVID-19 and concerns with managing patients in critical condition in such a remote location,” said Pat Lenci, Bella Coola Chapter Coordinator, Rural and Remote Divisions of BC. “A call went out to the community for financial support to aid in the Lucas 3 purchase. The response was amazing. Donations to the Bella Coola Healthcare Auxiliary Covid Fund were received from all parts of the valley.

“In addition to these funds, the Bella Coola Healthcare Auxiliary, under the leadership of the President, Paula Fralick, and Augsburg Ladies Aid, donated additional dollars to make the purchase possible.”

The machine is very lightweight and portable; it is hosted in a hard shell backpack and can be moved and plugged into a cigarette lighter of a car, and is very user-friendly.

“The purchase of the Lucas 3 would not have been possible without the ongoing community support of fundraising efforts by the Bella Coola Healthcare Auxiliary,” said Lenci. “A big thank you to a wonderful community!”

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