Sanford Bemidji receives CPR devices for COVID-19 cardiac threat

Sanford Bemidji recently received 7 LUCAS mechanical CPR devices donated by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable trust to care for patients during the pandemic and beyond.

Sanford Health received 51 LUCAS devices in its regions: Bemidji, Minnesota, 7; Bismarck, North Dakota, 6; Fargo, North Dakota, 18; Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 20.

Before the grant, Sanford had 72 LUCAS units deployed across its footprint.

“These devices are vital because we don’t want front line health care workers to choose between trying to save a patient or risking exposure to themselves and others to the coronavirus,” said Walter Panzirer, a trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust.

“LUCAS has been a proven, effective tool in saving lives during cardiac arrest, and having more of them available during this pandemic will save even more lives, including those of the doctors, nurses and other health care workers.”

Research has shown cardiac damage in as many as 1 in 5 COVID-19 patients, leading to heart failure and death even among those who show no signs of respiratory distress.

Among patients who recover, many could have long-term effects from such heart damage.

The rise in cardiac complications caused by COVID-19 exposes both patients and health care workers to greater risk, as hands-on CPR can be needed for extended periods, and personal protective equipment can become less effective in keeping the virus from spreading to medical providers.

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