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Boyceville ambulance saves $37,000 on automated CPR machines

By LeAnn R. Ralph

BOYCEVILLE  —  Boyce-ville Community Ambulance has managed to save $37,000 while at the same time equipping both ambulances with automated Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation machines.

After the last cardiac emergency that the Boyceville ambulance service responded to, it was evident an automated CPR machine would help save lives, said Matt Feeney, director of the ambulance service, at the Boyceville Community Ambulance District meeting December 16.

Automated CPR machines cost $20,000 each; for two ambulances, the total would be $40,000, he said.

The Tomah ambulance service came to Boyceville’s rescue, so to speak.

Tomah had been an Advanced Life Support (ALS) service but then became an Advanced Cardiac Life Support service (ACLS), Feeney said.

Tomah no longer needed the automated CPR machines they had been using, he said.

Boyceville was able to obtain both units for $1,250 each for a total of $2,500, Feeney said, adding that Boyceville had saved $37,500.

Tomah’s automated CPR machines are in excellent shape and have now been put into service at Boyceville. All of the EMTs received training on the use of the machines two days prior to the ambulance district meeting, he said.

The automated CPR machines operate with a device that encircles the patient’s chest and then performs rhythmic and consistent chest compressions that serve to breathe for the patient while at the same time pumping the heart, Feeney explained.

By comparison, manual CPR only compresses the patient’s chest in one spot. After five minutes of manual CPR, many EMTs are already growing tired, he said.

With manual CPR, EMTs must stop the chest compressions while going down stairs and while the patient is being loaded in the ambulance. The automated CPR machines work continuously until the patient reaches the emergency room, Feeney said.

“It is an overall better system,” he said.

The automated CPR units have a battery pack that provides a minimum of 30 minutes of breathing and chest compressions, and most transport times for Boyceville are about 30 minutes, Feeney said.

“It’s a good tool. We would never be able to find two of them again for that price,” he said.

The automated CPR machines are approved for use in patients who are 18 years or older, weigh less than 300 pounds and have no traumatic injury, such as broken ribs, Feeney said.

Out of all of the  cases to which the Boyceville ambulance service is called, the automated CPR machines will work for 80 percent of the calls that require cardiovascular resuscitation, he said.

Closed session

The Boyceville Community Ambulance District met in closed session to discuss a personnel complaint.

When members of the ambulance district reconvened into open session, Gilbert Krueger, chair of the ambulance district and a representative for the Village of Boyceville, said there was no action to take on the closed session discussion.

Next meeting

The Boyceville Community Ambulance District meets next on January 13 at 7 p.m. or immediately following the fire district meeting.