MEXICO — Med-Care Ambulance is a few hundred dollars short of the $16,000 needed for a life-saving device for patients in cardiac arrest, including those with the new coronavirus.

The fundraiser began in January as part of a plan to respond to the pandemic, and the ambulance service recently received a $5,000 donation from Brookfield Renewable Energy, the owner/ operator of the Rumford Falls Dam in conjunction with Rumford Falls Hydro.

Med-Care Ambulance Deputy Chief Paul Landry Jr., left, Assistant Deputy Chief Berta Broomhall and Chief Dean Milligan show the automatic chest-compression device on loan to the service. Donations toward the $16,000 machine are close to the fundraising goal set in January, Milligan said. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

“With this virus, one of the most dangerous things for us to do are interventions we would do during a cardiac arrest, and the close proximity to the person, Med-Care Deputy Chief Paul Landry Jr. said last week during a meeting with Brookfield representatives via Zoom. “So that was one of the areas we were really looking at trying to focus on our protective measures, as well as being able to extend our resources.”

During the meeting, Landry, Assistant Deputy Chief Berta Broomhall and Chief Dean Milligan used a loaner model to demonstrate how a Lucas 3 CPR Chest Compression System operates.

“When performing CPR for a cardiac arrest, we always have one person continuously pumping on the chest, but we additionally have to have a second person standing by because they switch out every two minutes,” Landry said.

He said the device won’t get tired and responders don’t have to worry about it becoming affected by the virus.

“We put it on the patient and we can continue CPR the entire time that we’re taking the person out of the house,” Landry said. “It’s scientifically proven that what’s saving people that are in cardiac arrest is high quality CPR. And this machine does it for us without fail.”

“Our ultimate goal is to be able to have one of these devices on each of our three front line trucks,” he said.

Milligan said the device has been used in the field for about 10 years, but Maine EMS only approved them this past year.

Med-Care Ambulance Chief Dean Milligan, left, Assistant Deputy Chief Berta Broomhall and Deputy Chief Paul Landry Jr. listen to Brookfield Renewable Energy representative Steve Michaud during a Zoom meeting May 7 in Mexico. The energy company donated $5,000 toward the $16,000 cost of a chest-compression device to assist patients in cardiac arrest. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

Broomhall described how one or two first responders assist patients before the ambulance arrives, and having the chest compression device allows her to “do what I need to do for further care with this patient, by myself, if I had to.”

She said it’s very difficult to do good quality CPR on a patient in the back of an ambulance. With the chest-compression device, she and the other responder can stay belted in their seats.

“For us, at a minimum, we would be doing CPR for at least 20 minutes,” Milligan said, and possibly 30 or 40 minutes or longer.” They also have to get an advanced airway, insert an IV and administer heart medication. “And the perfect CPR is what circulates those medications efficiently,” he said.

Steve Michaud, director of Brookfield’s northeast operations, said, “We really appreciate what you guys do in the community to make sure people are treated properly.”

Donors can visit the Med-Care Ambulance Facebook page or its GoFundMe Account, or mail or visit
Med-Care Ambulance, 290 Highland Terrace, Mexico, ME 04257.

Med-Care covers 550 square miles, serving 16,000 people in Andover, Byron, Canton Dixfield, Hanover, Mexico, Newry, Peru, Roxbury and Rumford in Oxford County, and Carthage in Frankin County.


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