The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has announced a multimillion-dollar effort to save the lives of COVID-19 patients and protect the frontline healthcare workers caring for them. A total of $4.7M in funding will be distributed across five upper-midwestern states, including SCL Health hospitals in Montana.
The grant, awarded to SCL Health Foundation, will fund the purchase of eight LUCAS mechanical chest compression devices for St. Vincent, Holy Rosary and St. James.
“These devices are vital because we don’t want frontline healthcare 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 healthcare 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.
“We are facing many uncertainties during this COVID-19 pandemic, but one thing we can always depend on is the incredible support of the Helmsley Charitable Trust. We are extremely grateful for this generous gift during this time of great need,” said SCL Health Montana President, Steve Loveless. “The Helmsley Charitable Trust is devoted to supporting services and technology within rural healthcare, and this life-saving equipment will help us deliver safe, quality care to our most vulnerable patients.”
The rise in cardiac complications caused by COVID-19 exposes both patients and healthcare 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.
The devices will remain in place after the pandemic as part of the hospitals’ cardiac system of care.
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