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RFAH Foundation gives $3,500 to Ellsworth ambulance service

The River Falls Area Hospital Foundation, part of Allina Health, recently presented a $3,500 grant check to the Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service to help purchase a second life-saving LUCAS device. Gathered for the check presentation were, left to right: Tony Howard, Dan Morth, Karen Swenson, Connie Burgess, Jennifer O’Neill, Dave Kidd, Kris Herold, Sandy Bjork and Spencer Fobbe. (Submitted photo)

The Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service wants to improve out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest survival rates by 50 percent over the next five years.

One of the keys to reaching this goal is the LUCAS, a computerized device which performs automated CPR.

Successful fundraising earlier in the year enabled the service to purchase its first LUCAS; the River Falls Area Hospital Foundation, part of Allina Health, recently presented a $3,500 grant check to help purchase a second device.

“In the case of a cardiac emergency, time matters,” said Karen Swenson, manager of the hospital’s emergency department and a member of the hospital foundation’s board of trustees. “Getting these tools into the hands of the first responders can make a huge difference for our patients.”

“The LUCAS device, while proven to be lifesaving, is expensive and out of the budget for our service,” explained Kris Herold, director of the EAAS.  “We are so appreciative of partners like Allina Health for helping us provide state of the art, out of hospital cardiac arrest care for the citizens, employees and visitors in our area.”

The newest development in cardiac emergency care, the LUCAS performs chest compressions far more efficiently and effectively than the most highly trained professionals. This is important because non-interrupted and steady chest compressions help keep oxygenated blood flowing consistently to vital organs like the heart and brain.

Perhaps just as important, the LUCAS frees caregivers’ hands so they can perform other life-saving interventions. And the LUCAS is extremely portable, so it can be used not only in ambulances or emergency departments, but also anywhere in the community where there is a cardiac emergency.

The grant from the hospital foundation was a match on dollars raised at the ambulance service’s first annual pig roast fundraiser.