Health Check: Taking Technology To Heart

Two new tools are giving doctors and first responders in Fremont something that's hard to come by in the medical field - more time and more manpower. In this month's Health Check report, Serese Cole shows us how.

When an emergency strikes, Fremont Fire and Rescue is ready.

"Especially when you hear somebody's down, not breathing - CPR is in progress, everybody steps up the pace, " said Captain Pat Tawney.

Time is critical.

Emergency Department Director Brian Cunningham said, "Every minute that goes by that heart muscle dies if it's not receiving oxygen."

That's why first responders and doctors are thankful for the AutoPulse Resuscitation System.

"It's just a simple board that we can position the patient. The first thing to do is hook these life bands to the patient, " said Tawney.

Once the machine is on, the band eases down on the patient's chest.

"And the machine will do the rest of the work itself, " adds Tawney.

Work is right. The AutoPulse provides 80 compressions per minute - and unlike CPR those compressions are uninterrupted. The band extends around the patient's entire chest - not just one spot - which leads to better blood flow to the heart and brain - improving chances for survival.

"'The other thing is it frees up hospital personnel paramedics to do other things like incubate people, administer medications, start IVs, " said Cunningham.

Another machine, the 12 Lead ECG allows medics to check - then send a heart patient's condition to the emergency department - while en route - so doctors can prepare for the patient.

Serese Cole, "With the addition of the of the AutoPulse and 12 Lead ECG, paramedics say they now have a rolling emergency room and in most cases - don't even need to have the lights and sirens on when they head to the hospital."

Technology they say could save time...

"You buy somebody 10 or 15 minutes their outcomes are going to be significantly improved, " said Cunningham.

...and lives.

Doctors say traditional CPR often leaves first responders fatigued and patients with a fractured sternum, breastbone or ribs. That's not the case with the AutoPulse. The technology also allows medics to shock or defibrillate a patient while the the device is going - which is not possible with CPR.

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