Bexar County ESD 2 Fire Department said it's the first in the San Antonio-area to adopt a new tool researchers say could significant increase heart attack patients' chances of survival-- and it's not the only new addition the ESD is taking on to help save lives. All of the changes have one goal in mind: making sure if care is needed, patients get the best care possible.
With the ResQCPR tool, Bexar County ESD 2 hopes to increase its chances of saving lives.
"Right now, overall cardiac arrest survival's not like you see on TV shows or movies, where everyone gets up and walks away," said Bexar County ESD 2 Medical Director Craig A. Manifold. "The survival rate across the country is 10 percent. If we double that and see 20 percent, we'll be very pleased."
Using the tool involves using two devices. One lifts the chest and one keeps air out of the patient's airway, creating a vacuum in the chest to increase blood flow from the heart to the brain and other vital organs. A study of 1,600 patients showed that, on average, 49 percent more survived one year out from their heart attacks.
"We're going to actually, hopefully, save more lives with this device and technology, and that's our hope," said Bexar County ESD 2 Assistant Chief Mark Montgomery.
The technique isn't the only change coming to far west Bexar County. In January, ESD 2 will run its own ambulances, aiding with response times. New trucks are coming in now, one with a platform for rescues.
Lieutenant paramedic Sarah Windsor knows what it's like to hold someone's future in her hands, and she said all the little changes add up to big ones.
"Regardless of the outcome, we can go to the family and say, 'we did literally everything in our power and abilities to provide the best possible outcome to your family member,'" Windsor said.
Other departments could roll out similar technology in the months to come.